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Omar Al-Jourani

BSc in Biochemistry, graduated June 2017, Upper Second Class Honours Degree.

PhD student, Newcastle University

I am currently in the first year of my PhD in Biochemistry and Glycobiology at Newcastle University, studying specific virulence factors of Streptococcus pyogenes.

My undergraduate degree at Newcastle University was in Biochemistry and I thoroughly enjoyed it as it covered a diverse range of work and incorporated a variety of topics from related fields including immunology, microbiology and biophysics. The first year offered a great level of flexibility as we studied many modules of various biosciences including Pharmacology, Physiology, Biochemistry and Genetics. Altogether, this allowed for a greater understanding of the impact scientific research could make in the world we live in today.


My final year was actually my favourite year as we were able to pick our own optional modules based on what we enjoyed the most. I picked a module in methods of research, which was massively beneficial to me as it helped me in my final year project in the Northern Institute for Cancer Research where I used various analytical biochemical techniques to characterise specific protein-protein interactions. This opportunity of working in a real research lab allowed me to personally perform the techniques of which I’d learned the methodology during my undergraduate years, including Western blotting, pull-down assays and homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence.

This cemented my love of working in a laboratory and led me to undertake a Master’s degree in Cancer research at Newcastle University the following year, in which I was able to pick two further modules to study in the taught semester of the degree. The research project of this degree included working in a research lab for 6 months with a project of my own! This required a lot of independence but plenty of support from colleagues and supervisors.

This 6-month research project was incredibly rewarding and helped me realise how much I enjoyed scientific research. Consequently, I decided to continue my studies at Newcastle University in the form of a 4 year PhD in the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences.

Newcastle University is an incredible place to study with so many educational opportunities and my time here has definitely been the best of my life. In addition to the academic side of my life here, I’ve had an excellent social life and made friends and memories I will never forget in what is possibly the best student city in the UK.