Pro. Kim Dale is Assistant Vice-Principal (International) of the University and the Associate Dean (International) of the School of Life Sciences and Professor of Molecular Developmental Biology. Her work focuses on the countless mechanisms that shape different stages of embryological development. She was awarded a University research fellowship by the Royal Society of London when she started her laboratory. Luckily, I had a great opportunity to have a conversation with her. Here are a few insights that I got from her.
To start with, she emphasized the importance of reading research papers () to stay up to date with your field of study. To help develop a sense of understanding which is required to comprehend and; in the future, publish research papers; one must read as many papers as possible. Time in the university should be spent exploring subject matter beyond textbooks!
It is important to note that the textbook can be used as a guide to understanding the basic principles, but after that; one must invest time in building onto that concept through the tool of research papers.
In addition to the research papers, it is also recommended to try and visit a lab/ get hands-on experience in your area of interest. This can be attempted after you complete your second year (minimum). Although it might be a little discouraging to wait that long; it is important to realize that you need to have enough lab exposure to understand the basic lab techniques and practices and hence being patience will pay back well. In her own words ‘ This profession is about hard work, patience, and dedication.
Lastly, as you keep an eye on the research papers and continue your countdown to getting hands-on experience, she added a few wise words for all the young women who aspire to be in STEM: ‘Right time is when you want it to be the right time!’. Sometimes many aspects of our life play a major role in the career-oriented decisions that we take. And hence, instead of it having a negative impact on our career, we should be able to choose the right time, rather than allowing external factors decided it! We should be able to prioritize ourselves at times and be ambitious about our career and future!
A big thank you to Prof. Dale for her precious time and wise words! I hope it helped!