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Students Sample Histopathology

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Students Sample Histopathology

Notre Dame alumna Martha Baylis came back to college on January 27 to enlighten our Enhancing Excellence students regarding her current role in digital pathology, and to pass on her top tips for applying to study medicine at university.

Martha attended Beckfoot School before studying A-levels at Notre Dame, in which she achieved A A A* A*. After leaving college in the summer of 2022, Martha started working with Leeds Teaching Hospitals in a research facility called NPIC (National Pathology Imaging Co-operative). As the NPIC website states, this facility is “a unique collaboration between NHS, academic and industry partners. Beginning in 2019, NPIC will deploy digital pathology scanners across over 40 hospitals across England, scanning over 2.3m images per year and generating 3 petabytes of image data per year.”

Martha is a biomedical support worker in histopathology, so she studies tissue from biopsies or resections from surgery. Pathology is the study of disease, and digital pathology uses whole slide imaging scanners to study samples, rather than microscopes. That way, whole slide images can be viewed on a computer screen.

Martha shared sample images with our students, pointing out their key features. She talked about identifying an ovarian dermoid cyst, which is a benign tumour with skin, hair and teeth. She then listed the main careers in pathology, which include clinical scientist, support worker, veterinary pathologist and dental pathologist.

After showing a video that explained digital pathology in more depth, Martha shared her experience as a medical applicant, and passed on what she’d learnt to our students, many of whom would like to progress to dentistry, medicine or veterinary science after college. She explained that, while work experience is mandatory when applying for one of these degrees, it doesn’t have to be clinical.

Our students found Martha’s presentation professional, engaging and informative. Many were surprised to discover that she is only a year or so older than them.

Martha’s experience as a biomedical support worker has supported her application to study medicine. She has attended interviews at three of her four university choices and is waiting to hear back. We wish her all the best and thank her again for taking the time to inspire our students.

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