Phebe Ekregbesi, Research Technician, National Heart and Lung Institute

“There’s such a welcoming group of people with a healthy attitude to lunch –and the idea that breaking bread builds communities.”

I completed a BSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bath in 2018. This included a placement at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where I published a paper. That experience was pivotal in deciding to be an immunologist. 

In 2019, I joined Imperial as a research technician. I mainly characterise immune cells in different diseases, and also now contribute to imaging within the Inflammation Repair and Development (IRD) Section. 

Outside of the laboratory, I volunteer with organisations promoting STEM fields to underrepresented groups, including mentoring young girls and non-binary people through the Stemettes and celebrating Black voices with the Black in Immuno Hub. 

Since 2021, I have been the technician for the Lloyd laboratory where I teach users how to operate some imaging equipment, assist members with their experiments, and offer wider technical support and some general laboratory administration. 

Now that I am working more with imaging, the most immediate impact I see are the micrographs, which are photographs or digital images taken through a microscope or a similar device.  Even outside a research context, they’re incredibly beautiful. Images like these were one of the main reasons I decided to pursue biology when I was younger, so getting to produce them myself now is very rewarding. 

The values that come to mind when I think of IRD are respect and excellence. There’s such a welcoming group of people with a healthy attitude to lunch – and the idea that breaking bread builds communities.   The group genuinely celebrates each other. Regular feedback from colleagues and peers vastly improves the quality of work we all do. 

I’m looking forward to starting a Master’s in Microbiology and Immunology in the US later this year. It’ll be great to experience a different country and study what I love. 

Outside of immunology, I enjoy reading comics. The visual storytelling is unparalleled, and the use of sound and movement makes it feel like I’m watching an animation rather than reading a comic. Also, I just haven’t seen the range of ideas that are in comics anywhere else. 

I also like rugby, very casually. I got into it during university and it’s the only sport I watch outside of the Olympics and World Cup, so I think it deserves a mention. 

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