Nick obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Microbiology at the University of Aberdeen in 2006. He is currently continuing his studies at the University of Aberdeen in the School of Medical Sciences as a PhD student. Nick’s microbial physiology doctoral research is investigating how bacteria act to protect themselves when their environment changes.
My undergraduate degree programme was very flexible, which was perfect for me because I knew I loved studying biology and it also enabled me to study different subjects in the first year, including computing science which I am finding extremely valuable in my current PhD studies. In addition, I studied interesting electives related to my degree such as immunology, molecular biology and biochemistry. Studying microbiology has also challenged me in terms of developing my skills in communication, problem-solving, teamwork and time management - all skills that can be applied in the ‘real world', enhancing my future employability.
The main reason behind studying for my PhD was my first degree in microbiology. I enjoyed my honours project so much that I wanted to continue; I realised that scientific research was what I wanted to do. During my research I have been able to develop my own ideas and think independently within a supportive environment and this has really increased my confidence in my own abilities.
I very much enjoy working in a laboratory, planning experiments, carrying out analytical procedures and reading the relevant literature. I also attend weekly research group meetings, where I can share my experiences and discuss my research findings and progress with academic staff and other research students. In addition, I contribute to undergraduate teaching and marking; this is a very useful learning experience, enabling me to develop my scientific communication skills.
Working in a vibrant academic community really inspires my enthusiasm for science. I have also been able to take advantage of personal development workshops, such as a useful undergraduate demonstrating and small group teaching course as part of my PhD training. Eventually, I want to secure a biotechnology postdoctoral position and go into medical research, motivated by my strong desire to obtain a microbiology lectureship.
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