Matt Vreugde: BSc Medical Sciences
Biological Sciences Achievement Scholarship winner, Summer Studentship in the lab of Prof Arun Holden
"After receiving my grades from my International Baccalaureate diploma I was contacted by the University of Leeds detailing the terms and conditions of the scholarship. It was a very pleasant surprise, one that motivated me to perform even harder during the year to meet the requirements for a repeat payment of the scholarship.
Biomedical sciences at Leeds offers a very hands-on, research-led teaching programme that has researching professors sharing their expertise with the students, and their insights and breakthroughs on the particular subjects that they are teaching. This allows students to be sure that they receive up to date information about what they are being taught, and gives a great insight into the researching process of different areas of science. This makes it a very attractive course and it has definitely lived up to its promise.
Last year I was invited to participate in a research placement together with Professor Arun Holden. The department I was assigned to specialised in the field of 'computational biology', which focuses on creating computerised models of organs in order to analyse their function mathematically. I enjoyed the placement so much I requested a studentship over the following summer which was granted by my supervisor. During this time, I used experimental programs to evaluate their competence in producing 3-dimensional models for publications. These programs generated 3D images from 2D MRI data and could be used to view practically any structure in an organ (e.g. the inside of the ventricles of a human heart). I am still occasionally involved with the lab when my schedule allows it, and enjoy participating in the ongoing research.
I absolutely loved Leeds from the first time I came here to visit on an open day. I was given a tour of the campus and thought the facilities of the student union were absolutely fantastic. The nights out with the different societies are always fantastic, as they are a great opportunity to get to know more people in the societies you’re in.
When I finish my BSc, I hope to go on into a postgraduate medicine course and eventually become a medical doctor."
At the time of writing, Matt was a second year student.
Adam Hyman: BSc Medical Sciences
I chose the University of Leeds primarily because of the range of modules suiting my interests. I can study my interests, which will help me get a job that I enjoy when I am older. The University has a good reputation in the biosciences, and the sport and social aspects also attracted me to Leeds.
I found the first semester challenging, adapting to university life and keeping up with work, but my first year exam results were my greatest achievement so far as University; I received the 1st year Medical Sciences prize for the highest overall performance.
I find the course really interesting overall. Anatomy classes in the dissection room are brilliant, as well as the other lab sessions. Going into the dissection room for the first time was another highlight of my time here.I enjoy the interactive lectures using clickers to answer questions.
In the future I plan to do a PhD in either neuroscience or pharmacology, and go on to become a research fellow or a lecturer."
At the time of writing, Adam was a second year student.
Jodie Cunningham: BSc Medical Sciences
Jodie is a Sports Scholar who plays rugby league at England Senior International level. She hopes to secure a place in the England squad for the 2013 World Cup.
"I’d heard great things about the University and in particular the biological sciences faculty. I thought the idea of being taught by those conducting cutting edge scientific research would be a great opportunity. The location and facilities were perfect for my sporting needs.
I found having to work independently and encourage yourself to do the work and keep up to date very challenging. Organisation is key to doing well in any degree programme. The level of support you receive from the Faculty is great though and many different resources are made available for you to utilise and ensure you get the most out of your time at university.
The Sports Scholarship Programme is exceptional and the strength and conditioning support is perfect for my needs as an athlete. They are very flexible and work around my academic timetable and what is best for me.
I joined the women’s rugby union club in my first year at university and have loved every minute of it. The club welcomes people of all abilities and provides a fun but competitive environment for all involved. Being part of a sports team at university is one of the best experiences you could have. As part of the women’s rugby team I have met an amazing group of people and thoroughly enjoyed playing matches and taking part in all the social aspects of being part of a team at Leeds.
I would encourage any prospective students to come and study medical sciences at Leeds University. The experience and facilities are of the highest standard along with the teaching and support you receive."
Luke Mills: BSc Medical Sciences
Final year research project: Science and society
Medical Sciences graduate Luke Mills shared his expertise with local school pupils as part of his ‘science and society’ final year research project.
As part of his degree Luke was given the chance to undertake a scientific research project called ‘science and society’, teaching local pupils the biology of the spinal cord. Luke said: “My research project in schools around West Yorkshire was very enjoyable.
“I received fantastic support from my research tutor during the project and it was a great experience to visit schools and work in a classroom environment. My tutor was extremely helpful throughout the project.”
The Medical Sciences degree offers flexibility with a wide range of biomedical sciences modules and the opportunity to study additional electives. Luke said: “I had the opportunity to pick modules from a range of topics within the Biomedical Sciences and also outside the course. I enjoyed the opportunities to study human anatomy and undertake dissections, something that not many universities offer.
“While I was at university I was involved with the university rugby and football teams and the Leeds student radio station. I also helped at university open days. I would encourage anyone to get involved in as much as you can and enjoy it because the time goes too quickly!
“I was also a member of Leeds Raise and Give (Leeds RAG), the Union’s official fundraising body. There were lots of exciting fundraising projects – I cycled from Leeds to Paris with them for charity which was extremely enjoyable.
“Leeds has a lot to offer, the new gym facilities are excellent with cheap membership available for students. The sports pitches at Weetwood and Bodington are free and easy to book for 5 a side or intra-mural sports. The careers centre at Leeds is really good to use – they organise volunteer work to enhance your CV, they will put you in touch with people who can help you and Joblink provides many part time jobs aimed at students.
“I would recommend Leeds for the nightlife, and the areas of Headingley and Hyde Park are well designed for students and provide cheap places to live. Living in halls in the first year was one of the best experiences I had, with lots going on which made it easy to meet new people.”
Beyond graduation, Luke has been inspired by his experiences in the classroom. “l would like to become a science teacher after undertaking my research project in schools. I would also like to apply for postgraduate medicine. I know my Medical Sciences degree from Leeds will stand me in good stead for the future.”
At the time of writing, Luke was a final year student. He graduated in 2010.
Katharine Cresswell: BSc Medical Sciences
Study Year Abroad at University of Toronto, Canada
"In my third year I studied as an exchange student at the University of Toronto as part of my medical sciences degree. While I was over there I studied a combination of biomedical science modules and modules on Canadian culture.
My study year abroad has given me a broad range of knowledge as I had the chance to take modules that I couldn’t have taken at Leeds. Coming to study in another country has given me confidence and motivation to get the most out of my time at university.
The most enjoyable part of the trip has been having the chance to live in a foreign country, experience a different culture, meet loads of new people with similar interests and travel around Canada, America and Mexico.
BSc Medical Sciences is a really great course if you are interested in all aspects of human biology. It is hard-work but worth it! I can’t recommend study abroad enough, I really feel it is one of the most beneficial things you can do at university both academically and personally."
At the time of writing Katharine was a 4th year student.
Steven Robery: BSc Medical Sciences
Industrial Placement at AstraZeneca R&D Charnwood, Loughborough
I chose to do a placement year because I wanted to take a year out from studying and learn about a career path that a degree in medical sciences could potentially take me down. Science has always interested me, and the opportunity to work for a large company in laboratories with funding for a wide range of specialist scientific equipment was also a big factor that drew me. In addition to this, I wanted to learn what it was like living in a 9-5 routine, earning a salary, and see first-hand the pros and cons of this type of lifestyle. I discussed the idea of a placement year with my course tutor and a careers centre adviser. I was shown offers for various different placements and it was then up to me to apply for placements that interested me.
My responsibilities as a placement student involved working to a good laboratory practice environment, which meant working under strict laboratory guidelines when performing practical work. I worked on several different projects often with a supervisor and independently at times.
I feel that I was able to put many skills learnt during the two years on my course into use. Apart from my chemistry knowledge, I had to use my presentation skills on many occasions, and was grateful that we had done these as part of university assessment. I was also able to apply the basic laboratory skills and knowledge of how to read scientific papers that I had learnt at university.
My time with AstraZeneca has greatly enhanced many skills that I can now confidently apply to my final year at uni. The most significant improvement is my laboratory skills, while I also feel positive using my own initiative, there were many occasions where I conducted experiments independently, analysed the results and then spoke to my supervisor about my ideas.
My year in industry has been a real eye-opener and I think I will be reaping the benefits for years to come.
Ben Moore: BSc Medical Sciences
Research Placement with Professor Arun Holden
Ben decided to study medical sciences as a perfect alternative to medicine and an opportunity to study the biomedical sciences in detail. Revelling in the specialist research in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, Ben particularly enjoyed Dr. Morris’ lectures on brain and memory function, as well as the opportunity to take part in dissection practicals.
On top of the excitement of the course, Ben has been involved in a research placement which has helped him develop not just his scientific knowledge, but his understanding of planning and working within professional research.
“12 months ago I’d just finished college and received my A level results and now I’m in a scientific lab working at the forefront of medical research!”
Of course university is also about the wider experience of being part of student life, and Ben has found this side of Leeds as exciting as the academic side. Ben is a member of the St John’s Ambulance which provides relevant experience as well as a chance to meet interesting people.
“Everyone at the university is friendly and approachable, and I’ve met some amazing people and lifelong friends along the way.”