Phil Coxon: BSc Biochemistry & Physiology (2002)
Business Development Manager, MRC Technology
"Six months after completing my PhD, I applied for a Business Manager role with MRC Technology. I was a Business Manager for two and a half years prior to transferring to this role. In my current role, I arrange visits to universities in the UK (and elsewhere) to speak to scientists about the potential for collaboration with our drug discovery group on early stage drug discovery projects.
I talk to scientists about their research and potential application in the area of drug discovery, and meet with other biotech/pharmaceutical companies to discuss areas of mutual interest and potential collaboration or licensing.
I get to hear about the ground breaking and most exciting scientific research going across a broad range of biomedical research areas but also combine this with the opportunity to learn business skills and evaluate the commercial potential of scientific findings.
My time at Leeds was very enjoyable, and it’s a great city to be a student in. My degree gave me a broad scientific base to take forward to PhD research, and I had the opportunity to take a sandwich year and work at GlaxoSmithKline. I believe this has given me an edge when applying for jobs as I had some industry experience, which makes you stand out against other candidates."
Jodie Munday: BSc Biochemistry (2010)
Grants Administrator, Kidney Research UK
"Working for a charity there is such a vast range of opportunities that I know I will be able to take part in so many different areas of the organisation. It is great working for Kidney Research UK because you are not restricted to one part of the charity; they encourage you to get involved in other aspects of charity life.
Having a Biochemistry degree is essential for my job. Part of my role includes working alongside researchers and also helping to communicate to the outside world any breakthroughs that we have made.
Having a Biochemistry degree has no restrictions, it helps you to be analytical and precise which is essential for any role. Using my degree, I have the confidence to talk to people about Kidney Disease; having learnt the mechanisms behind the diseases it makes it easier to be able to communicate them to others
I absolutely loved my time at Leeds. I will always look back with very fond memories. Not only did I leave Leeds with a good degree, I also developed a vast amount of life experience that has helped me now I am in full time work. Leeds gave me the confidence to go out there and meet new people, which have definitely helped me to grow as a person.
Leeds University can offer you so much more than just a degree. It can help you grow as a person, develop skills that you never knew you had. Not only will you get a degree, you will also get valuable life skills that will help you for the rest of your life. The staff will do their upmost to help you and offer you any advice that you need. One thing I will always remember is the encouragement we got from the Faculty to go out there and make friends. It doesn’t matter how many hours a week you have lectures; they always encouraged you to have a good work-social life balance.
I absolutely loved my time at Leeds. I think that once you have lived in the city, then you don’t really want to be anywhere else. There is so much to offer that I think you would be mad if you missed out on going to Leeds!"
Faye Gould: BSc Biochemistry (2005)
PhD Student, University of Leeds
"I am currently a PhD student at the University of Leeds, without my BSc I wouldn't have been able to do a PhD. I knew that I wanted to do a PhD after finishing my undergraduate degree. I started my PhD in the October following my graduation after doing a little bit of travelling during the summer.
I did a summer placement in a university lab between my second and third year of my degree and this was great experience before I did my dissertation lab project – I would definitely recommend doing this. Consider your dissertation project carefully, if you want to do a PhD it’s definitely best to do a lab project because not only will you get a taste of what life as a PhD student is like, it will also give you a better chance when you are applying for PhDs.
Be prepared to work hard, these courses are tough and involve a lot of hours in uni, but you will also get the opportunity to have loads of fun. Because the courses in FBS have a lot of contact hours you get to know everyone on your course really well, which contrasts with some of the other courses with only 3-4 hours of contact time per week. As for a year abroad, all of my friends who did one had an absolutely fantastic time – I wish I had done one!
The highlight of my time as an undergraduate was meeting so many great friends. Graduation day was one of the best days of my life, all that hard work finally paid off when I got my first! I was a committee member of the Horse Riding Club, a sports club that organised horse riding lessons and competitions. I was also a student rep for my course."
Chloe Stanton: BSc Biochemistry (2005)
Now studying for a PhD in the genetic and molecular basis of age-related macular degeneration at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh
"My degree was a 4-year course encompassing biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology options. In my third year, I took advantage of the industrial placement scheme offered by the University, and spent a year working in a research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. During this year abroad, I was part of a team of scientists who investigated the genetic basis of Alzheimer's disease. This provided me with the opportunity to build on skills that I had developed at Leeds and also to learn a great deal about working in a research lab, living in a different country and how best to enjoy the sunshine and beaches in Florida!
Leaving sunny Florida to come back to Leeds for final year was tough, but Leeds is a great place to live, and I really enjoyed my course and being part of the University. I found the teaching and academic support to be excellent, and the array of extracurricular activities available meant that there was never a shortage of things to do in and around the city.
After graduating, I moved to California to work in a Molecular Genetics lab at the University of California in San Diego. Having a good degree from a great university like Leeds definitely helped me to obtain this position, and stood me in excellent stead for the challenging array of new techniques I would learn during my year in San Diego.
Whilst in California, I applied for post-graduate studentships back in the UK. I chose to do an MSc in Life Sciences, followed by a PhD (investigating the genetic and molecular basis of age-related macular degeneration) at the University of Edinburgh, working at the MRC Human Genetics Unit.
There is no doubt that studying at the University of Leeds provided me with many amazing opportunities, firmly setting me upon the path I am following today. If I got the chance, I would definitely go back and do it all again!"
Johanna Pass: BSc Biochemistry (2008)
Transgenic Technologist, The Sanger Institute, Cambridge
"I would highly recommend studying biochemistry at Leeds. The staff were supportive, the course was interesting and the social life was great.
I found the subject matter the best part of my course. The course was varied with a number of choices to suit different interests and the content was both interesting and challenging. I enjoyed writing my dissertation entitled “Regulating protein degradation through tran-ubiquitination and the N-end rule as a therapy for heart disease”. I chose this topic because it was a lab based project and meant I could enhance my practical skills. The topic of protein degradation appealed to me as did its application as a heart disease therapy. This prepared me for work in a lab and to manage my time more effectively.
I’m currently a Transgenic Technologist within ‘mouse genetics’ at the Sanger Institute – the leading contributor of finished sequence to the Human Genome Project. The department I am in is currently working on the annotation of the mouse genome with the aim of knocking out and characterising every gene within mice. Day to day, my job involves hands on work in the lab as well as computer based work. The variety of the work I do and the ever changing nature of the project makes the job challenging but enjoyable.
My degree has helped me in my work as it gave me sound background knowledge of genetics and the techniques used to manipulate it. The course at Leeds prepared me for the reality of a job within the scientific community and gave me the skills I needed to achieve it."