School of Biomedical Sciences

Jessica Eley

Jessica Eley

BSc Biomedical Sciences – Graduated July 2013 with First Class Honours

Current Position: PhD student at University College London

Studying at Newcastle University was a fantastic experience, both academically and as a city. It thoroughly prepared me for a career in scientific research. The modules offered in a range of different biomedical fields allowed me to study lots of topics, taught by experts, with a focus on current research and its overall relevance to biomedicine.

The core common components of the Biomedical Sciences degrees gave a sound knowledge base and the opportunity to try some of the other disciplines that could be studied further into the course.

As I was unsure of my research ambitions I chose to pursue the broader Biomedical Sciences option. This was a great opportunity to develop knowledge and interests in areas such as cancer, ageing and biotechnology.

The staff in the School of Biomedical Sciences were very helpful and supportive in my decision to apply for a placement year in industry. Between second and third year I took a year out of my studies to pursue a respiratory medicine placement with GlaxoSmithKline, focusing on understanding the disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

It was from this laboratory experience and my final year undergraduate research project which resulted in me being offered my current position. I'm doing a four-year PhD at University College London, funded by BBSRC and GlaxoSmithKline, researching tissue fibrosis and identifying potential new drug targets.

The final year research project formed a large part of my degree. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn transferable laboratory and scientific communication skills working alongside world-leading researchers. Indeed, I use many of those techniques and presentation skills in my PhD studies.

The breadth of project subjects offered meant that there was a perfect placement to suit my interests in respiratory research. I was offered the flexibility to develop my own ideas and present them to peers and colleagues, something which is critical as an early-career researcher.

Newcastle’s prestigious reputation for being involved in world-class research was certainly matched in my undergraduate degree experience. The current biomedical relevance of the course content presented an exciting environment to learn in.