Life as a Researcher- Dr Alex Rhys

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I completed my PhD at the BCI. My research focused on a particular piece of machinery found within cells called the centrosome, which is important for co-ordinating microtubules, necessary for cell motility, shape and division.

The BCI was a fantastic environment to work in, with over 350 researchers all working to help beat cancer. Having all these researchers under one roof meant we could more easily share our knowledge and collaborate on research, uniting different expertise and insights.

Life before the BCI

Before coming to BCI I did an integrated Masters degree in Biochemistry at the University of Bath. I undertook two industrial placements during my time there, the first at the University of Surrey, looking at the role of NADPH oxidase in atherosclerosis.

The second was here at BCI using oncolytic adenovirus. I then took a sabbatical year out as Education Officer at the University of Bath Students’ Union before starting my PhD.


During my time at the BCI, I attended and presented at a week long conference in Spetses, which is one of the Greek islands, so that was an amazing experience. Sitting down having beach discussions with some of the world’s leading scientists was definitely surreal.

As well as that, when I worked at the BCI as part of my undergraduate degree, a group of us undertook the Wales 3000 challenge to raise money. It was certainly hard, but a huge achievement.

Low points

I spent months trying to CRISPR a protein, after repeatedly getting great knock down but no knockout we finally found out our antibody was also recognising another protein, so turns out I had knockout all along. I’m trying to think of how many more months I would have wasted if we hadn’t found out, rather than dwell on all the ones that I did lose.

I wish I'd known...

How much of a roller coaster science can be – sometimes your experiments work and you’re on top of the world, other times they just don’t and you spend your time trying to work out what’s going wrong. That can be draining, and you just need to keep your head up and know it’ll get better.