School of Biomedical Sciences

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson

BSc Biomedical Sciences – Graduated July 2014 with a First Class Honours Degree

Current Position: Research Technician, Newcastle University

I particularly enjoyed the multi-disciplinary approach to teaching science that the biomedical science degree offers. I loved the variation in taught modules from genetics and pharmacology to diseases of the nervous system and microbiology with immunology. The practical sessions taught really helped to translate the knowledge gained through lectures into the working world of science.

The university also has a work experience scheme, which I would definitely recommend to any student. Through this program I gained a 100 hour work experience placement during my second year of study as a Laboratory Assistant at BioToolomics. This is a local biotech company focusing on the development of client-specific chromatography media and disposable columns.

Following this placement, I was offered a permanent part-time contract by the company. I continued to work there throughout my degree, gaining invaluable laboratory and business experience.

During the summer break between second and third year I also did a six week vacation studentship, for which I was awarded funding by the university. This project involved transfecting mammalian cells with P6 DNA (a plant virus protein which suppresses the plant’s immune system), and investigating its possibilities as a potential anti-inflammatory drug research target.

This project taught me a huge range of lab techniques including cell culture, transfections, western blots and activation assays. It also gave me the opportunity to create a research poster and present my findings at two conferences.

I felt that already having this extra lab experience gave me an advantage when it came to completing my dissertation lab project in my final year. I worked in the Institute of Cellular Medicine on a project titled Modulating Wound Healing Post-Myocardial Infarction, for which I was awarded the BSI Undergraduate Award.

Techniques I learned included immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and chemotaxis assays. I thoroughly enjoyed my project, and so was thrilled when I was given the chance to apply for a post to continue this research by my supervisor. I began working in my current job as a Research Technician continuing myocardial infarction research three weeks after graduating.

For a career in science, the ability to critically analyze, to plan and manage workloads, to communicate findings to a range of audiences, and to be competent in the laboratory, are all essential skills that Newcastle University helps its students develop.