James Butler – MSc Biomedical Science graduate

After graduating with a distinction, James has already secured a PhD studentship at the University of Plymouth.

“After graduating from the MSc course I will be starting a fully-funded PhD at Plymouth, within the School of Engineering. This path opens me up to a career in academia, industry, or within the NHS.”

My choice? Plymouth

“I had previously studied for my undergraduate degree at Plymouth, so I knew I wanted to continue with my interest of infection science developed during my undergraduate research project, and I could do that by pursuing an MSc specialising in immunology.

“There is an active research community in the School of Biomedical Sciences, which I knew would provide me with the mentoring, guidance and resources to develop my research skills and run my own project.”

I liked how the MSc Biomedical Science course had central modules as well as specialist subject modules, so I could continue to build my knowledge.”

Good bacteria key to a healthier future

“During my MSc, I pursued an immunology-based project which also had a large microbiology component.

I investigated how different forms of probiotic bacteria, these so-called ‘good bacteria’, can modulate the inflammatory responses of macrophages, a major innate immune cell.

Probiotics have been touted in the media and by commercial companies as having potential capacity to modulate immune responses, meaning they could be used to “turn up” or “turn down” inflammatory immune responses.

This means that probiotics may have relevance in treating or managing inflammatory diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.”

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Why MSc Biomedical Sciences?

“I was attracted to the large research project which was supported by taught modules.

I thought that this would lead on well from my undergraduate studies, allowing me to raise my level of understanding of subject content and improve my essential skills like scientific writing and critical analysis of published literature. 

The large research project appealed to me because I knew it would allow me to increase my portfolio of laboratory techniques whilst really improving my experiment planning and data analysis skills.

All of this has led to me becoming a more independent scientist.”


"After graduating from the MSc course I will be starting a fully-funded PhD at Plymouth, within the School of Engineering. 

“This project will combine microbiology with materials science to develop an antibacterial coating using silver nanoparticles for use in hospital settings.”

I’m really excited to use my laboratory skills and knowledge in infection science I’ve developed from my undergraduate and postgraduate study at Plymouth as well as developing new skills in materials and chemistry. 

This path opens me up to a career in academia, industry, or within the NHS."

The best times

“My favourite experience has been my development into an independent researcher.

While undergraduate research projects are essential to a science degree, they can be relatively short and sometimes a bit prescriptive compared to real life research.

My MSc project was naturally a bit daunting at first, but as I learned the new techniques and settled in I found myself becoming more and more independent, deciding next steps for myself and going to my supervisor with data and ideas.

This independence allowed me to take ownership of my project and has put me in a strong position for starting my PhD.”

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Dodging balls and resisting antimicrobials

“I got involved in some activities associated with antimicrobial resistance awareness week – the most fun part of this was a pub quiz with students and lecturers, it was both informative and a great opportunity to get to know students and staff in a less formal setting! 

There has also been a staff-student dodgeball match – staff are always really happy to get involved in these kinds of fun activities, and with the size of the MSc cohort being smaller than most postgraduate groups it’s easy to get to know everyone and organise social events together.”

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“Staff are approachable and friendly, and will always find time to address student questions or concerns. 

There is a staff-student liaison committee which meets each month and involves both staff and student representatives of each course. 

This committee provides a useful opportunity to share ideas, raise concerns and ask questions, and is the perfect way to provide feedback so the course can be tailored to best suit the students’ needs. 

I always had the sense that help was there if I needed it, advice about employability, career options and interview skills can be accessed easily as well as sessions to improve skills in writing and mathematics.”

Find out What's on at the University of Plymouth
 

Why Plymouth?

“There is such a vibrant research community, and I’ve found the staff to be great mentors. 

The university is great at listening to student feedback and acting on recommendations, and offering opportunities to students and alumni.”  


Study MSc Biomedical Science

Biomedical science is a fast-paced, ever-evolving field. Looking for a programme that will help you deepen your theoretical knowledge, hone your clinical skills and broaden your professional experience?

Find out more about studying Biomedical Science at the University of Plymouth.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other alumni from medicine, dentistry, biomedical and healthcare sciences are currently doing, please visit the Meet our alumni page.