School of Medicine

Shaylen Mistry, MSc Oncology (PhD student)

Shaylen completed his master’s degree in Oncology at the University of Nottingham. He chose to continue his studies at Nottingham for his PhD due to his positive experience with oncology research, the university's strong focus on cancer research and the desire to investigate further into his current research on paediatric brain tumours.

“I felt hopeful and confident enough in my own ability to make a viable academic contribution towards answering the key, essential unsolved questions that are still out there. I had a key research interest in this topic, and I wanted to extend that knowledge depth for a few more years.”

Why did you choose to stay at Nottingham?

“The reason why I chose to stay at Nottingham for my PhD is because I really enjoyed the experience that I had here at Nottingham in oncology, and I wanted to take it further at this specific university. I understand that cancer research at Nottingham is a key research focus and currently is conducted to a very high standard. This is something that I was extremely passionate about and wanted to be a part of.

I’ve done some research on various universities and their oncology programmes. Nottingham's Oncology course stands out itself due to its impressive offerings and outstanding academic reputation. I reviewed the course details, highlighting the aspects that were most suited for me in terms of my career and academic goals.”

Shaylen Mistry image


What are the best things about the course?

“One of the aspects that I like is the fact that covers a wide variety, it doesn't just focus on one specific sort of cancer and then excludes the others. I feel that the main malignancies are all brought together and you're able to go into fantastic depth with the key core concepts.

Furthermore, I feel that the balance between the research project that you undertake and the theory that you've learned collectively go very well together hand in hand. So, from a personal experience, I enjoyed it, and I would highly recommend it.”

“For me, success involves staying true to yourself, maintaining honesty, and committing to everything you do. It's about finding joy and purpose in my work, knowing that my efforts contribute to the greater good.”

“These core principles are, in my view, universally applicable to anyone's definition of success. As someone inclined towards research, I find success in the ability to uncover answers to unanswered questions, particularly in my current field of paediatric brain tumours. The depth of research in my studies complements my vision of success, and I see it as an ongoing cycle that leads to meaningful contributions in the field of cancer research.”

How did you choose your research area?

“I chose to pursue a PhD based on my experiences in oncology research and an internship as a Research Technician. The aspects I enjoyed were the key fundamental concepts that both provided, such as the idea of data collecting, scientific writing, independent working, and presentation delivery. Furthermore, I do have a passion for cancer research, and I wanted to take this to an advanced level. I feel that this specific topic that I'm doing now which focuses on paediatric brain tumours, is a key and relevant topic in today's oncology field.

Although my internship was external, I believe it provided valuable insights and parallels to my academic journey. Combining these experiences with my MSc Oncology, I have built a

solid foundation for defining my future career and academic goals. Currently, I am nearing completion of my first year of the PhD programme.”

How does your research impact the world?

“The impact of my research work is that I'm currently looking at recapitulating the post-surgical brain microenvironment in atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumours. The reason why we want to do this is to identify potential membrane proteins that we can use for targeted therapy. So, in relation to that residual disease in a post-surgery environment remains a clinical complication that's associated with this specific tumour and membrane proteins more specifically, we hypothesise will be an ideal therapeutic target. I’ve had the opportunity to use the lab facilities at the Biodiscovery Institute. I primarily worked there during my master’s research last year, and it continues to be my primary research environment. Additionally, I have had the privilege of working in the Queen's Medical Centre, specifically for protein-related research.

They offer a friendly, safe, and professional working environment. I am comfortable working in both labs and appreciate the collaborative nature of the research groups that utilise them.”

What has been the most rewarding part of your postgraduate studies?

“The most rewarding aspects of my postgraduate studies are the ability to find new sets of information in terms of the research that I'm currently gathering and the gradual progression of my research to find the specific conclusion to the unanswered questions in the science field.

Furthermore, my postgraduate studies have enhanced my skills as a researcher, emphasising critical thinking, independence, and effective future planning. I believe these skills align perfectly with the work I'm currently engaged in, the data I'm able to gather, and the conclusions we can draw. On a personal level, I've found that these academic achievements and personal growth go hand in hand, making my postgraduate journey highly rewarding.”

How has the support on offer been? My two research project supervisors, Dr Martin Grundy and Dr Claire Seedhouse, played an important role in my academic progression towards the PhD. Their support, guidance, and mentorship have been exceptional. I am profoundly grateful to them, as having such dedicated mentors significantly enhanced my overall experience. Their expertise and the research group we worked in provided a solid foundation towards my progression to my PhD. Additionally, my current supervisor, Dr Ruman Rahman, continues to provide invaluable help. Working within his research group and under his supervision has been a privilege and helped me to achieve my maximum potential.”

What does ‘success’ look like for you?

“Success, from my perspective, is a personal concept. It's about being genuinely content with yourself and knowing that you consistently put forth your maximum effort with a sense

of fulfilment. While I acknowledge that success is a subjective and relative term that varies from person to person, I believe there are certain universal elements to it.”

“The MSc Oncology course was a fantastic course that I enjoyed for the entire duration that I was there. The course provides an exceptional foundation for all students who are interested in the fundamentals of cancer.”

What does the future hold?

“Following my PhD, I would like to continue in the research environment. The concept of brain tumour research and particularly paediatric brain tumour research is a field which needs more attention. It’s an area that lacks funding, and to be able to have a career working in that field it will be a huge privilege and an honour.

Right now, for example, we hear more stories about calls on the government to provide more funding for brain tumour research. I feel that being able to transfer myself into that career path would be fantastic for me.”


School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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