Current Position: PhD Student, University of Manchester
If someone had told me at the start of my A-Levels that I’d eventually graduate with a degree in biochemistry, I wouldn’t have believed them. I was one of those ‘failed-medics,’ but I can honestly say that it was probably the best thing to happen.
In my first year I realised where my actual interests were and what I enjoyed, instead of assuming that an interest in science and disease immediately meant you wanted to be a doctor. A great opportunity offered to students is the chance to transfer to the other bioscience degree programmes. This allows your interests to develop before you commit to a degree.
I particularly enjoyed the biochemistry module and was interested in biological processes (like DNA replication) and disease at the molecular level. Because of this I decided to specialise in biochemistry. The speciality degree programmes are often smaller so you get to know your classmates and lecturers better.
As the researchers themselves teach the content, it’s not a surprise that I became interested in a career in research. The school actively supports those who are interested in research and offer opportunities for work-experience.
The Lab Assistant scheme allows students to work, part-time, in one of the research labs. I worked during second year in Prof Brian Morgan’s lab, which often involved helping PhD students and lab technicians.
I was also successful in winning a studentship I worked on my own project in Dr Jeremy Brown’s lab for eight weeks over the summer in between second and third year. I felt comfortable working in a lab and got a real buzz from performing experiments and analysing the results. This confirmed that a career in research was for me.
These two posts allowed me to build on basic techniques taught during in-course practical sessions, such as PCR and gel electrophoresis. I developed time-management and communication skills. These skills allowed me to get stuck into my dissertation lab project investigating the validity of prostate stem cells at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research.
The past three years at Newcastle University have been the best years of my life! The city offers something for everyone and the Students’ Union cater for every sport and hobby under the sun. The School of Biomedical Sciences is incredibly supportive and helped me realise my potential as a researcher.