Author: Ayesha Sahar
I always wanted to do PhD so there were no doubts and I started looking for positions right after my masters in 2019. I did computer engineering with focus on machine learning & data science. I have always found exploring other fields specifically medical field really exciting. I was looking for a PhD position that will not only improve my skills in my own field but also medical field. Interdisciplinary has always been my thing; I also wanted to work in a connected environment where researchers work together to gain new insights.
I came across this position on the euraxess site and found it completely aligned with my PhD goals; a new area where I can use my expertise. Fortunately, I was selected for this role and soon after my selection covid started. I was in Barcelona so the visa centre was closed. It took more time to start the PhD but finally I started in September 2020.
As I started, it was all work from home. My project really needs collaborations and networking. I am really thankful to INsTRuCT for all the online courses we had in first year to understand the basics of immunology. I started making a base for my research by understanding the basics and then moved to a literature survey. First year has been a full of new knowledge and discoveries.
Although this is not my last year but I am planning to do a lot more this year to leave a long-lasting impact of my research in tolDCs field. I plan on publishing the work this year and also more collaborations. I am also starting my secondment soon which was delayed because of the covid.
I feel PhD changes everyone in some way. It's a process to continuously learn and evolve. If I compare myself, I have gained more confidence when delivering my research. I also feel more confident now that I can apply my skills in any field. I can now deal with a wide variety of data and specifically NGS (Next generation sequencing) data which is an achievement in itself.
Lastly, PhD brings a lot of dynamic experience in a researcher's life from moving to a new country and learning a new culture, aiming for the best research outcomes and also maintaining work-life balance.
I am grateful for this experience and I still can't believe it's been a year!!!