About Shannon Cubillos:
I believe myself to be well organised, level-headed, flexible, and rigorous in my work. Recently, I was part of the COVID-19 mobile processing project which followed the RT-LAMP protocol. We followed the SOP carefully and precisely, as it was especially important to avoid user errors that would lead to contamination and inaccurate test results. We followed the laboratory protocol accurately, carrying out tasks in an organised, systematic manner. This organisation I feel is a life skill that has come with practice and from balancing different responsibilities such as work, studying, personal life and other personal projects. I now confidently feel this applies to my work. The work involved aliquoting samples into the Promega Maxwell RSC Instrument for the genetic extraction stage, then preparing the extracts with primers for loading into the OptiGene Genie HT machine for the amplification stage. I dealt with uploading test results to our internal LIMS system, often troubleshooting, working with the BMS’ and LIMS’ leads to fix any user issues. Our work also involved following decontamination protocol, taking environmental swabs, and decommissioning the mobile labs towards the end of the project. The mobile processing project was an eye-opening experience that exposed me to so many different personalities across all the different test sites. I became used to working with the different teams, adapting myself to their expectations in an effort to improve our group workflow. I pride myself on my ability to work well with other people, by being social, and being flexible as I understand working towards our common goal as just important as our individual achievement.
My experiences have taught me valuable communication, time management, and social skills that I can carry forward into my working life. I am confident, well organised, level-headed, and able to work independently and as part of a cross-functional team.
After finishing my MSc in public health last year, and before then my BSc undergrad in biomedical science in 2019, I have since worked on the COVID-19 MPU project. This was my first professional role since leaving university but gave me a real insight into working within the healthcare/science and technology field. The skills I’ve gained in this role, paired with my strong academic foundation, have helped develop my professional profile, and therefore I believe I would be a good fit for this role.
In my final year BSc project, finding and analysing the MIC of antimicrobial peptides against pathogenic yeast involved designing, planning, and implementing the experiments. Cultures of Candida albicans and Candida krusei were grown on standard Mueller-Hinton broth. The antimicrobial peptides were serially diluted the inoculated onto the cultures, and then incubated for around 18 hours, after which we were able to observe and determine the minimum inhibitory concentration of each peptide. This experience developed my competency with essential laboratory skills such as culture maintenance, micropipette technique, and quality assurance within my own experiments. Our other practical modules enabled us to practice other laboratory techniques such as bacterial transformation, gel electrophoresis, light microscopy, cell counting and other laboratory skills.
At the end of my MSc, I received praise from my supervisors as they were impressed with my research project on the link between probiotics/prebiotics and colorectal cancer, this being my second written research project. Currently, this paper is now in the process of being published in the Canadian Journal of food research.
I feel confident in my ability to plan, organise, and implement laboratory experiments having planned my research during my time at university. I also feel confident in my academic writing ability, i.e., researching, and analysing bodies of work in the scientific literature, having written systematic reviews for my post-grad. My time at university has developed my skills in researching, analysing, critically observing, planning, and communicating and I feel, has made me a well-rounded, flexible, dedicated individual, ready to tackle the science and healthcare sector and continue my professional development in the process.
My time working for the MPU project involved following laboratory protocol precisely, liquid handling, interpreting statistics, and troubleshooting our internal LIMS software. This experience has strengthened my problem-solving skills as we overcame many difficult challenges. I think most importantly, that throughout this experience my teamwork skills and my ability to adapt to new environments improved, as I worked with so many different personalities.
We worked on various sites with different teams, and it was a challenge to constantly change and adapt to these teams, but I learnt to be flexible, and for us to be flexible was essential for our team to work cohesively and effectively. Overall, what I’ve gained from that experience is incredibly valuable. I like to think that my time working on the MPU project has made me better at managing my time, prioritising tasks, and has motivated me to work harder and help improve workflow by systemising our productivity. This was reflected in the certificate of achievement we received for processing more samples than any other test site on the project.
My experiences whilst studying and working have taught me valuable communication, time management, and social skills that I can confidently carry forward into my working life. I am confident, well organised, level-headed, and able to work independently and as part of a cross-functional team. In this role, I know I would be effective in contributing to group workflow and comprehensive in fulfilling my duties. I’m very eager to seek new experiences, add value to my work, and develop my skills further whilst learning new skills that will challenge me throughout my professional development.
2021: Global Public Health MSc, University of Westminster
2019: Biomedical Science BSc, St George's University of London
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