28 October 2022

The programme, named Discover to Recover, gives Level 6 Life Sciences student interns the opportunity to work with experts in Westminster’s School of Life Sciences’ Genome Engineering Laboratory as they create novel CRISPR- based diagnostic platforms for infectious and non-infectious diseases. It offers a unique insight into what it is like to work in an academic research environment.

The internships are made possible after a £10,000 donation from Westminster alumnus Raj Sitlani. Raj studied Modern Languages at Westminster before beginning a successful career in finance. He was inspired by the passion of the Genome Engineering Laboratory team at an alumni event in 2018.

He said: “I very much appreciated the opportunity to meet Dr Surendraneth and some of her students. The level of excitement they demonstrated and their enthusiasm for practical laboratory experience are exactly the reasons why I have been a big supporter of the genome lab.   

“If my contribution means that the students can 'stand out’ from the crowd and their peers at other institutions then it will be worth it. I can only encourage other alumni to help the Genome Engineering Laboratory. Collectively, we can create a buzz about the discoveries being unearthed by this small, dedicated team.

Jasikurat Kaur, who recently completed the Discover to Recover internship, said: “My journey in the Genome Engineering Laboratory at University of Westminster has been an incredible one. The tremendous research experience and lab practice I gained during this internship has provided me with an amazing skill set to boost my journey as a capable researcher. 

“Owing to the training and skills I acquired in the Genome Engineering Laboratory, I feel so much more confident to start my MRes in Drug, Discovery and Development at Imperial College this year.”

Dr Surendranath said: “The internships are first-of-a-kind in Life Sciences for the hands-on research experience they offer. They have equipped students with a variety of skills. Indeed, students trained by us have gone on to achieve scholarships and positions in top companies and universities. We look forward to supporting more students in the future.”

Simay Sali Sevik, Development Manager at Westminster, added: “It all started with an alumnus who believed in our students and the research that has been undertaken at the Genome Engineering Laboratory. We are grateful to Raj to be the pioneer and enable us to expand our CRISPR research and give students an opportunity to do paid research internships over the summer. Following the success of the Genome Engineering and Internship Programme; we are pleased to announce that the programme is now open for donations.”

Link to support Genome Engineering Programme

To discuss how you can support students or various projects at the University of Westminster, please email the Development Team.