Meet Brittany Johnson
WHAT YEAR ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR PHD ON?
I am a third year DPhil student studying Musculoskeletal Sciences, specifically looking at the importance of tumour location in metastatic bone cancers.
WHAT IS YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIKE? WHAT DOES YOUR RESEARCH INVOLVE?
Every day looks a bit different for me, which is one of the many reasons I love being an NDORMS student. My research involves a significant amount of cell culture, so I spend some time in the sterile tissue culture room most days maintaining my cell lines and setting up new experiments using the cells. I conduct a wide range of experiments to examine different hypotheses and cell processes, so I’m always learning something new as part of my degree. Every week, I spend time analyzing data I’ve collected and meeting with my supervisors to plan future experiments. I go into my lab at the Botnar most weekdays, but occasionally if I'm planning to spend the whole day reading or writing, I will pick one of Oxford's beautiful libraries to work in. Outside of lab, I serve as a Junior Dean at my College, so I spend time each week meeting with students and faculty as part of my role on the welfare team. I also love going on walks around the city, reading, and running.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO A DPHIL AT NDORMS, OXFORD?
I am from Birmingham, Alabama, USA. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Biology and English from the University of Alabama in 2018 and began medical school at The University of Alabama School of Medicine shortly thereafter. During the final year of my MD program, I paused my medical degree to obtain my DPhil at Oxford.
Since spending a summer studying English at Oxford in 2017, my dream was to return to the university for a graduate degree after medical school. After receiving a National Institutes of Health grant to fund a cancer research project over the summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to conduct my research at NDORMS here in Oxford. Through this connection, I began exploring graduate opportunities at Oxford that I could pursue alongside my medical training, rather than afterwards, and applied to the NDORMS DPhil program in 2021.
After completing both my DPhil and MD programs, I plan to pursue a career in anesthesiology that combines clinical practice, research, and teaching.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A DPHIL STUDENT AT NDORMS?
Being a DPhil student at NDORMS is an enriching, interesting, challenging, and exciting experience. NDORMS is a collaborative and supportive environment and the community of students, staff, and faculty is friendly and welcoming. While graduate school will always be challenging, learning and working alongside my friends and mentors at NDORMS has made a huge difference for me in terms of my confidence and overall happiness as a student. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to pursue my PhD at NDORMS.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A DPHIL STUDENT AT OXFORD?
It is a dream come true to be a DPhil student at Oxford! Learning and researching in such a beautiful and storied city is an incredible experience. As an Oxford student, you have access to some of the most unique opportunities, invaluable resources, and stunning learning environments in the world. One of my favorite parts of being a DPhil student at Oxford is the college system. My college community has introduced me to a diverse group of people that I wouldn’t otherwise meet through my department. Through my college, I’ve met many close friends and made some of my favorite memories attending formal dinners, lectures, and balls. The combination of college and department life here at Oxford leads to a well-rounded, unique, and enriching student experience.