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Daniella Cross

Biotechnology

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

I’m originally from Mumbai, India and have done most of my schooling there, but it was my desire to do my higher education in the UK. I had searched on the web for various universities in the South as well as the North, but found that very few universities offered Biotechnology as a full time course; one of them that did was Northumbria. I looked on the web and was impressed with the different modules and assessment criteria. Moreover when my parents visited Northumbria they reconfirmed that I had made the right choice.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

I love working in the laboratory and biotechnology is all about learning new techniques in the laboratory. The different modules offered and all other elements in the course seemed very interesting.  I am aware that biotechnology is the future emerging field of science and therefore I knew this would be a logical step for me.

What qualifications did you have?

I had finished my higher secondary college in India majoring in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths and French, which is probably equivalent to AS or A Levels. I had to however make my application through UCAS to qualify for this course.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

I was absolutely impressed with the University’s infrastructure, especially the library which is now open 24/7, the Sports Centre, the Students’ Union and the labs in Ellison Building which span over three floors. I was made to feel at home by the Welcome Team in the first week.

What do you like most about the course?

This course involves enormous lab work. Here at Northumbria I have learned various techniques like PCR, electrophoresis, gel purification, SDS-PAGE, techniques in cell culture, tools in molecular biology. The list is never ending. At Northumbria I learn a new technique every week. The course work involves writing up essays, lab reports, seminar presentations, group work which makes it very interesting. All the modules are well structured and the professors provide enough information in their lecture slides. The course also involves working on a research project in the final year. I was appointed to a supervisor who is always there to guide me through the project.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?

Currently I am working on a research project which involves introducing the ‘alcohol dehydrogenase’ gene in the bacterium ‘Acintobacter’. This involves performing various molecular biology techniques like PCR, electrophoresis, purification, assaying the enzyme etc. Another component of this project involves presenting an oral presentation to my project supervisor and another member of staff about results obtained during the course of the project and finally I have to utilise all my data and present it in the form of a scientific article. I am told that if this project is successful I might have my name printed in a scientific journal article which will later be published.

How do you get on with your tutors?

My module tutors are very friendly and helpful. Most of them have an open-door system as a result of which I have access to their services at any time either through a walk-in session or by arranging a meeting through email.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

Yes definitely. The course at Northumbria is a sandwich course and therefore there are various opportunities for work placements during the course.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I take piano lessons. I love playing the piano and I am currently undergoing training for Grade 7 piano through ABRSM. I am a member of the choir in my parish at St. Andrew’s R.C. Church in the City Centre. I have had a couple of opportunities to do some voluntary work as well as paid work in private companies and the local school. I am currently the ambassador of the School of Life Sciences for the Students’ Union as well. Newcastle is a lovely city with people from different cultural backgrounds. Nearby, the Metro Centre is the largest shopping centre in the UK.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

After graduating I would love to come back and do a Masters in Biotechnology and then my PhD in Molecular Biology.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

I use the Student Services often, especially the Careers Centre.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

The best advice that I can give the future applicants doing this course is that they must ensure that they put in their best and build a good rapport with their tutor as it is always appreciated. The tutor along with the International Advisor is always there to assist them in all their academic and financial needs.

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

Unique, awesome and fabulous.


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