Finding inspiration on the path to a research career

  • March 6th 2024

Ife Aderinto is a 2nd Year medical student at the University of Exeter. She recently attended an INSPIRE taster session on Medical Mycology at the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology. INSPIRE is a project organised by the Wellcome Trust and the Academy of Medical Sciences to encourage medical and dental students to gain experience and understanding of research. Here she tells us about the rewards and challenges of finding a path to a research career.

Attending the INSPIRE taster session

Ife (second from left) attending the INSPIRE taster session at the MRC Centre for Mycology

Medical mycology is of growing significance in global healthcare. Together with a small group of students we were shown around the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter. We visited the labs to meet the researchers and find out about the projects they’re working on to help address the global threat of fungal infections. As a future clinician, it was very inspiring to see how it’s still possible for clinicians to get involved in translational medicine.

The importance of research

I think that research is extremely important, society needs curiosity, and with questions come answers. With questions, we notice gaps in knowledge and where improvement is needed. Research helps to progress humanity forward.

Overcoming barriers

I’ve had to overcome barriers to pursue a research career, for sure. Although I’ve been involved in different research areas during my study and have research experience, opportunities to join research projects have been difficult to find. Programmes like INSPIRE make it easier to find them and for me to learn more about my interests. I would say that time constraints as a student and being a black woman have been barriers to getting involved in research. I’ve worried that I wouldn’t be seen or offered much support because I didn’t see much representation around me.

Finding support

Ife Aderinto

Professor Adilia Warris has been very supportive in answering questions about how to balance a research career with a medical one. And over the years my personal tutors have helped me through tough assessment periods and the academic pressure of the course. I think it would be nice to support more students to read research papers, to expose them to databases and journals to help them identify the gaps in research. It would be good if universities provided information about research job vacancies and opportunities to get involved – particularly for people of colour who might feel quite intimidated signing up or stepping out of their comfort zone.

Pursuing a career in research

I’d advise anyone thinking of a research career to read, and read as much, and as wide, a scope of literature as you can. Literature from various parts of the world and both primary and secondary papers. I’d also say to make sure it’s an area you’re passionate about because then it won’t feel like a chore. Be confident and humble when asking for opportunities, connections or advice. There’s always more to be learned, so having that at the back of your mind keeps you open-minded.

Dream job

I’m a full-time medical student and I work part-time as a physiotherapy/teaching assistant in SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) education. I love the job as it helps me continue learning about child development and how it crosses over with public health. Whatever I do in healthcare, working with and supporting child development would be my dream job. I enjoy variety and challenge, so I’d like to be involved with research that investigates the complexities surrounding children’s health, such as immunology, infectious diseases, and public health. Right now, I have an interest in sickle cell disease and how to keep clinical research advancing its treatment.

Looking behind the veil

Ife Aderinto

Although I’ve studied a BSc Medical Sciences, an MPH (Master of Public Health) and now a BMBS and am well versed in evidence-based and secular sciences, I also enjoy the arts, like painting, reading literature, philosophy, astronomy/astrology and writing poetry. It fascinates me how much of general human knowledge today stems from observational studies before there was a standard way to test them. We try to understand the human condition and experience. I like looking behind the veil to realise that much of our existence cannot be given logical plausible depictions. That there are times when we simply do not know, but our senses will still feel and see to give things meaning.


Training and inspiring the next generation of translational researchers is a key aim of our biomedical research centre. Find out about our training opportunities and explore our extensive list of training opportunities from other providers.