Alumni case study: Xavier Didelot

Alumni case study: Xavier Didelot
Life Sciences Interface
Job title
Senior Lecturer
Imperial College London

In what way was your DPhil important to your employer?

Having a doctorate was an essential requirement for applying to my position.

In what ways have the skills and knowledge from your DPhil been useful in your current role?

The skills and knowledge acquired during my doctorate are useful to me on an every day basis, since the research I conduct is still in the same field I studied then.

What do you think has been of most value to you in undertaking a DPhil at Oxford?

Undertaking a doctorate is a unique opportunity to spend several years focusing on a since research aim. This is a luxury that does not happen again in academic life. Oxford was one of the best places for me to do my doctorate because of the strong reputation of the university and the academic excellence of the staff I worked with.

How do you think you benefited from being part of a cohort?

As an academic research it is essential to have a good network of collaborators, and I started developing mine when I was a DPhil student. Being part of a cohort was definitely beneficial in terms of sharing knowledge and experience. I am still in touch with some members of my DPhil cohort - in fact one of them is coming over tomorrow for lunch!

What would you say to someone who was considering doing a DPhil at the DTC?

One of the best features of the DTC is that it allows you in the first year to test a wide range of research fields, before choosing what you want to work on for your main DPhil project. Even if you have some idea of what you would like to do before starting the programme, you should approach the first year with an open mind, as you might find yourself enjoying some research area more than you would have initially expected!

Do you have any fond memories about the DTC to share?

I remember being amused by a practical in which we were sequencing our own mitochondrial DNA. I had never done any laboratory work before, but was still pleasantly surprised to obtained descent results. For another student however the results were a bit of a surprise: when we performed a phylogenetic analysis based on our sequences, he was revealed to be actually more closely related to macaques than humans…