Let’s introduce you to Joshua, a student from the University of Hull, who has embarked on a ‘year in industry’ placement with us as part of his Biomedical Science BSc course.

During his time with us, Joshua is gaining firsthand experience in the industry, delving into practical applications of his academic knowledge. We asked Joshua to share his insights and experiences during this exciting phase of his education and career development.

Tell us about your course?

I am studying Biomedical Science BSc at the University of Hull. My decision to take this course stems from a keen interest in science and the natural world. In more recent years I have become particularly interested in human pathology and the ageing process, leading me to see biomedical science as the most appropriate course for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed the content of my course as I find it fascinating, especially genetics and cell biology.

What does the opportunity of a ‘year in industry’ placement mean to you?

The year-long industry placement has been a great opportunity for me. It has provided a firsthand glimpse into what working as a scientist in industry is like which has been very useful in helping me decide my career path. Engaging in hands-on, practical work on a daily basis has significantly enhanced my scientific skills. I have become comfortable analysing scientific papers, testing human samples, synthesising chemicals and collaborating with others in a laboratory environment. I have also become accustomed to performing scientific research.

What activities are you involved in?

One of my main responsibilities is testing human saliva samples for the presence of pepsin to help assess if someone was refluxing (and to what extent) at the time the sample was taken. I then compile a report for the patient, or their doctor, about what their results mean.

In addition to this, I have been carrying out research. My primary project focuses on the development of a human pepsin standard, addressing the current reliance on commercially available porcine pepsin. This has entailed trips to Newcastle to isolate pepsin from porcine gastric juice, using high-performance liquid chromatography. Subsequent trips to Newcastle will involve isolating pepsin from human gastric juice, now that ethical approval has been obtained.

Another research project I’ve contributed to involves investigating the impact of pepsin on dental health. This includes synthesising artificial gastric juice and artificial saliva containing pepsin to see the effect suspending a tooth in each substance has over time. I’ve also worked with colleagues on developing a modified migration buffer to improve flow in viscous saliva samples. My responsibilities extend to synthesising chemicals, such as migration buffer and citric acid, performing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), analysing Peptest result data, conducting general lab work such as calibrations, fulfilling orders, testing samples for patients at a cough clinic and performing various other experiments.

Anything you’ve enjoyed or been surprised by?

I have enjoyed the diverse roles I’ve undertaken during this placement, and they’ve significantly boosted my confidence in the lab. One thing that surprised me was the difference between the theoretical focus of my university course and the practical nature of my placement. My university course is mainly based around learning information which is very interesting, and my placement year has been mainly based around learning practical laboratory skills. This practical experience has been invaluable, making me comfortable with independent scientific work.

I was also surprised by the amount of chemistry involved in my job. This has been great experience as it is a very valuable skill that is not the focus of my degree. Overall, this blend of theory and practice has been instrumental in my growth as a scientist.

What are your future career plans?

My current future career aspirations include undertaking a master’s degree in biomedical science and then a PhD in the field of cancer or biomedical gerontology. Then, I want to become a research scientist in one of these fields and look forward to contributing to science to improve human health and welfare.

What do you get up to out of work and study?

My interests include sports such as boxing, football, table tennis, as well as science as a hobby.

Sign up

Subscribe To Our Email Newsletter

Be the first to know about EXCLUSIVE discount offers and the latest research into reflux.

You have Successfully Subscribed!