When Alessandra Serra travelled from Italy to begin a PhD in the UK, Cambridge wasn’t her intended destination.
“I actually started my PhD at Lancaster University, but then my supervisor moved to Cambridge so I followed him! I had to reapply, but fortunately the nine months work I’d already done still counted.”
Having completed a Bachelors degree and a Masters in Mathematical Engineering in Italy, Alessandra pursued a PhD at the Medical Research Council’s Biostatistics Unit.
“I was working on adaptive clinical trial designs, where multiple treatments are tested at the same time and compared to a control. The aim was to find the shortest possible efficacious treatment for tuberculosis, and I mainly worked on developing novel designs.”
As a Darwin member, Alessandra embraced the College’s varied sporting opportunities.
“I really loved the sports societies – I got involved in squash, rowing and volleyball. I was living in College in my last year and it was a great community to be part of.”
The serendipitous transfer to Cambridge has proved to have long-term consequences. As well as, following today’s graduation, being a lifelong member of Darwin’s alumni community, Alessandra is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at her department.
“Cambridge is a wonderful university and I am extremely grateful to be able to be part of it,” she says.
“During my PhD journey, I had the chance to meet extraordinary and talented people who have stimulated me in every stage of my academic research and daily life."