Students and graduates from your country share their experiences of living and studying with us.
Student name: Khaled Rmali
Course: PhD - School of Medicine
Year of graduation: 2005
Current employer: Tripoli University
Based in Tripoli University, the main university in Libya, the combination of being a research academic and clinical practitioner has made Khaled extremely sought after professionally.
He says that the academic strength of Cardiff University's School of Medicine was what drew him here in the first place. His plans for the future are to develop a PhD programme similar to the one he studied under in Cardiff.
Tell me a little about your PhD research in Cardiff University.
My PhD revolved around tumour metastatis, angiogenesis and colorectal cancer. I worked specifically on the colorectal molecule. We learnt that the tumour angiogenesis is one of the most common causes of the metastasis of cancer from organ to another. I was very happy to be able to do research in Cardiff University.
I was working with the metastasis and angiogenesis cancer research group at the Department of Surgery in Cardiff University where a lot of experts and very good teams are working on this. I had modern clinical education and access to international journals before my PhD Viva. The easy availability of advanced research and scholarly articles were just one of the strengths of Cardiff University. I was very happy to do my PhD with published authors.
Is that why you picked Cardiff? Because of our cancer research department?
Yes this was one of the reasons. The other reason was because of the 7th place RAE ratings. The people in my research group had such strong academic backgrounds with numerous international publications and research that it was one of the most persuasive reasons for coming to Cardiff.
How did that PhD help you in your current job?
To be very frank, when I first arrived in Cardiff, my knowledge of Tumour Biology was minimal. We don’t have that many research fellows in Libya. Clinicians here mainly deal with patients and advise them on their illnesses, but not many invest time and funds on research.
This is a big benefit to me as a clinician because I’ve got double qualifications and thus have a wider background to do both clinical work and research. My qualifications are much sought after. I’ve learnt how to serve, how to identify and solve problems and how to document new discoveries. This has raised my research knowledge and is something I can add to my professional CV.
Tell me about your job as a clinical lecturer, what are your responsibilities?
I am teaching in the tumour biology and cancer in the Department of Surgery and in particular, I research colorectal cancer. On a daily basis I see patients in the morning and in the afternoon I’ll go with students to see patients and have discussions with them about the cancer cases. This is my specialism that I researched at PhD level in Cardiff. I deal with both general cancers and colorectal cancers. Sometimes I get involved in meetings and seminars too.
Are you working on any research projects at the moment?
I’m currently working with a group from the Misurata International Cancer Research Institute. We have two national cancer institutes – one in both the east and west of Libya. We do cancer research and look into the lifestyles of patients and see if we can glean any useful information from there.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I feel great when I deal with diseases. On 4 February, we celebrated the National Day of Cancer in all the wards. I feel that it’s enjoyable when I’m dealing with the kind of disease that is the leading cause of deaths in the world. I feel greatly satisfied when I research new medicine, trying to find causes and overcoming them. It’s a great opportunity.
What are your mid-term and long term goals with regards to cancer research?
With regards to our mid-term goals, first and foremost, we are trying to improve cancer screening in Libya. It is currently not working efficiently enough, resulting in patients detecting their cancers at very late stages. What we are trying to do is be able to screen cancer patients at the early stages of cancer before it becomes too late. Our researches are trying our best to sort out all the problems.
Any words of wisdom to Libyan prospective students?
Anyone who is about to come to the UK on an academic scholarship, I tell them to come to Cardiff for two reasons. The first reason is for the University and its reputation, the second is for the city. It is one of the friendliest, quietest, nicest ones around. Cardiff people are helpful people. In my four years, I never had any major problems in the city. I’m always encouraging people to come here for those reasons.