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ROH Staff Stories - Meet Mariella

Mariella Gonsalves is a Biomedical Science Student at Aston University, currently on her placement year here at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. We caught up with her to learn more about her placement.


Why did you choose to do your placement at ROH? I selected the Dubrowsky Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) for my placement as I want to go down the research route when I finish my degree, especially cancer research. Being in a hospital environment in particular was of interest and the lab being right next to theatres makes you feel right in the middle of it all.


What do you enjoy about working at the ROH?

First and foremost, the hospital's emphasis on research provides me with the opportunity to contribute significantly to osteosarcoma research. There really is a culture of continuous learning and collaboration here and I thought that as a smaller Trust it would be more close knit – which is true! People always smile at you when you’re walking round the hospital, and you can feel the dedication to innovation and research, it’s really accepted and I’ve found people are always willing to participate.




What does your role involve? 

During my time here, I have become acquainted with laboratory equipment and undertaken maintenance activities. I have gained proficiency in sterilisation and aseptic techniques, as well as basic cell culture methods. Currently, I am advancing my skills in primary tissue culture and conducting quantitative and qualitative cytotoxicity assays.

Recently, I completed a 7-day experiment investigating the effects of gallium nitrate and gallium-doped glasses on an osteosarcoma cell line (SJSA-1).

I actively participate in research endeavours, from designing and conducting experiments to drafting reports and scientific articles. The support and mentorship I receive at Dubrowsky Lab have been beneficial, and I am excited about the future advancements and ongoing learning opportunities I will attain.

The role does involve reading a lot of scientific papers – understanding what research has already been done in a particular area to identify a new question to explore.


What recommendations would you give to someone new to research?

I’d say first of all to read – you really need to understand what you’re looking for with the cells we culture here in the lab so it’s so important you have a strong foundation in different bone cancers and how cells may appear in a microscope. The library in the Knowledge Hub is really good for books so it’s a great place to go to find out more information about different conditions.