Olivia has just finished her final year of studying BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science at The University of Bradford. She tells us about her course and what she is hoping to do with her degree in the future.
Olivia Dean, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science
First and second year: What is a Biomedical Scientist?
Its no secret that becoming a Biomedical Scientist requires a LOT of work, a degree being the first stepping stone into becoming a registered Biomedical Scientist.
From Human Anatomy and Physiology to Haematology and genetics, you learn the inner workings of the human body, the guts and the gore (without the gore). You get to experience first-hand the wonders of the human body, and the parts that don’t always function the way we want them to. That’s where we- as Biomedical Scientists- come in, to help diagnose the problem by looking at these parts and passing the information onto MDT’s (Multi-disciplinary teams) for action.
Through labs, interactive sessions (my favourite being the anatomy sessions, using the Anatomage Table, a giant digital autopsy table) and lectures, you can learn how to perform this role, and the knowledge you need to do this. You also learn about new technologies that are now being used in NHS laboratories to diagnose patients quickly and safely.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t get your hands dirty! At Bradford, you are also given the opportunity to experience cutting edge research first-hand, from the ICT (Institute of Cancer Therapeutics) or the Bradford Centre of Skin Sciences. These people know their stuff and will always have a conversation about their work over a cuppa (when they have time or at the Café Scientifique). You can also catch research lectures on a Wednesday, hosted by either a University academic or a lecturer from elsewhere, these sessions are vital and can help a lot with your own learning and exams *hint hint*.
Third-year, becoming a Biomed
Third-year – my personal favourite, is the year of reckoning, any uni student will tell you that.
I chose to study Medical cell Biology in my final year, which involved a final year project. A bit like a dissertation, except you spend four intensive weeks in a lab, collecting data and learning new techniques before you present your findings in a report. Sounds simple?
My project looked at the actions of hormones on human Melanoma cells, aided by the best supervisors and a wonderful group of equally scared colleagues. In this four weeks, I learnt (very quickly) how to culture and maintain cells, prepare growth mediums, perform Immunocytochemistry (tagging cells with certain indicators so you can see them better) and maintain a VERY detailed lab book up to GLP (Good lab practice) standards, a MUST for researchers.
Spending 4 weeks in a lab surrounded by the best help and the best equipment you can get can sound daunting, you’ll laugh and cry (as I found out, at the same time sometimes) but the experience is invaluable.
So, I have a Biomedical Science degree, now what?
The age-old question, what do I do now? I’ve asked myself this question many times. Thankfully, I don’t want to be Britney Spears anymore, much to my mum’s delight.
Many people who study Biomedical Science choose to study postgraduate Medicine or Dentistry, or the evolving position of physicians’ associate. Some are fortunate enough to find a place at Biomedical Science Laboratory, in order to become registered as a working Biomedical Scientist.
Fun fact: The title of Biomedical Scientist is protected and can only be used by those working in the exact field.
Some, like me, choose to join the Royal Navy and become a Biomedical Scientist. Of course, this is not as straightforward as it sounds, the idea of the fitness test alone turns me green. But with hard work and training, I hope to achieve this goal. For now, I chose to continue studying at Bradford, to gain a master’s degree in Cancer Pharmacology, and go from there. For now, goodbye and good luck.