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I am the gene editor. With the help of a DNA barcode system, which is based on CRISPR/Cas9, we hope to gain insights in the regulation of microRNA target selection in healthy and disease chondrocytes.

While developing my research during my first year I have been able to acquire various skills. I succeeded in developing an approach to investigate in a more systematic manner now. I have learned to collate and analyse data and its implications by understanding the background and finally been prepared to provide solutions by developing a range of strategies.

Turning into my second year as DPHIL student my experiences over the past 12 months have confirmed and reinforced my desire to pursue a DPHIL in my area of interest at Oxford. I am applying a cutting-edge gene editing technique in my lab at the Kennedy Institute. Besides having a very rich and successful history (the Kennedy Institute first defined TNF as a therapeutic target for rheumatoid arthritis) it undertakes research in a variety of fields including immunology, inflammation, tissue regeneration and osteoarthritis. This results in strong inter-disciplinary interaction in a purposely build facility with state of the art equipment in which you meet people from all over the world.

Noman Chaudhry

Oxford hosts a huge number of societies which range from different sports, from all sorts of different cultural societies through to the most serious entrepreneur and consulting societies. These societies and the huge variety of sports opportunities (I have tried out rowing, football, badminton, running and weight lifting) make Oxford very precious and establish many different platforms to interact. At the same time you may spend your spare time visiting hundreds of years old colleges with a unique architecture, go punting or just experience the flair and beauty of Oxford in different seasons.

I believe it is important to know what your aims are and how to reach milestones towards realising them. Doing intense sports sessions early morning helps me to effectively design and pursue my experiments for the rest of the day. The key thing, however, is to be willing to learn and work hard for your degree. Before applying to Oxford I had studied in three different countries, including in the US at Harvard. If you are aware of the workload and its rewards and know that Oxford is where you want to go then do apply as it is a fantastic place to study, grow and make great connections and experiences which you will maintain and remember for the rest of your life.