Sara Ali, 2017 Crick-CRUK doctoral clinical fellow, Dominique Bonnet’s lab
I was born and raised in the small but beautiful island of Bahrain, and I was privileged to grow up in a household where intellectual curiosity was valued and encouraged. I received a scholarship to study medicine in Bahrain, and after obtaining my degree, I moved to the UK to pursue clinical training.
I got introduced to the world of medical research while working as a junior doctor at the Hammersmith Hospital and I quickly got hooked. To further my research experience, I completed an MSc in Cancer at UCL, and I was subsequently awarded an NIHR academic clinical fellowship in haematology during which I gained valuable lab experience at Barts Cancer Institute.
The PhD project offered by the Crick-CRUK clinical fellowship programme had everything I was looking for in a PhD so I did not apply anywhere else! What I found most appealing was the basic science nature of the project, and the opportunity to develop expertise in a number of cutting-edge techniques.
I work in Dominique Bonnet’s lab where I am studying the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in acute myeloid leukaemia. It has certainly been a steep learning curve but all the challenges only add to the excitement. There is a palpable sense of enthusiasm and energy throughout the Crick which motivates me in my daily work. There are also plenty of seminars, networking opportunities and public engagement events which make the PhD programme at the Crick really distinctive.
After completing my PhD, I intend to consolidate and expand my research skills by undertaking post-doctoral research while continuing clinical training with the ultimate goal of becoming an independent clinician scientist. In the long run, I hope to be able to contribute towards establishing research links and scientific collaborations between the UK and the MENA region.