Abi Bunkum’s MSc course in Health Data Science is a vital stepping stone in her progress towards a career in cancer research.

Abi Bunkum

It’s an ambition she has held ever since she took a degree in Biomedical Science at Bath. As an undergraduate she enjoyed lab work but recognised that the use of computational methods hold enormous potential for tackling cancer.

Having always loved maths and computing she is ideally suited to a future as a health data scientist but needed to further develop her skills, especially in areas like programming.

The Exeter MSc has allowed her to do this and she has particularly enjoyed modules like the one in stratified medicine which taught her how to analyse DNA sequence data. The work she has done on machine learning is also perfectly suited to her future plans.

Abi has also benefited from a placement looking at real world issues – in her case it involved studying genetic mutations that increase people’s risk of developing type two diabetes.

Thanks to the MSc she was able to secure a place at the University College of London Cancer Institute where she will take a PhD that will put her new skills into practice.

Her thesis will involve analysing DNA sequence data from different tumours to explore metastatic migration patterns in lung cancer.