Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) case study: Ana Tendero Cañadas

In this video, Ana tells us about her project on the ageing of the human bladder, and how she has found the DTA network beneficial in advancing her professional skills.

“My name is Ana Tendero Cañadas and I’m a PhD student at the University of Brighton, in the Applied Biosciences area. In my project I study the effect that age has on the normal bladder mechanisms in order to investigate possible ways to prevent or treat bladder conditions that affect the elderly.

I have always been passionate about research in health that is impactful, and I believe that my project has a great potential to benefit society. The bladder is highly susceptible to ageing, with 1 in 3 adults over 65 years of age suffering from bladder conditions, which impact their quality of life, are socially stigmatised and have a high economic cost for both the individual and healthcare systems. In an ageing population, it is essential to conduct research that explores the issues that affect the elderly in order to understand the mechanisms that cause them and to be able to prevent them from happening.

I applied to the DTA3 programme because it seemed like a great opportunity for me to develop my skills as a researcher while also being part of a big group of people who I could to collaborate and network with. In addition, the DTA3 programme also offered opportunities to explore career options outside of academia, with their training programmes, events and work placements.

This programme has allowed me to become a researcher, working in something I am really passionate about. But it also has given me the opportunity to develop other skills and to socialise with other PhD students across the UK. I worked as part of the DTA representative committee where I got a chance to talk and interact with my peers a lot more than I would have done, especially during the multiple lockdowns. Being part of this community, I have been able to learn more about other fields I can work in with the skills I have developed throughout my PhD and also with the trainings that the DTA offers.

I have found my research to be quite rewarding, having those really exciting moments where you know you have discovered something that nobody else has seen yet. In addition, something that has also been very motivating for me personally, was taking a secondment during my PhD where I got to work at the UK Health Security Agency. This experience was deeply insightful, now knowing about a different path I can take once I finish my PhD.

Being part of the programme has been insightful in regard to my future career options. The trainings, conferences and events that the DTA organises have given me an opportunity to explore and find out about multitude of pathways that researchers can take in their careers.

One thing that I think the programme does really well is cater for your personal goals. I think the DTA team is really good at listening at what specific skills people want to develop and what they need to be able to do that. For me, having been given the opportunity to develop skills outside of academia during this time has been greatly beneficial. I truly believe that this has increased my employability, which is something I am really grateful for.”

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