The most interesting module Hazel took during her Biochemistry degree was Functional Genomics and Epigenetics.

It allowed her to study DNA in-depth and, in particular, the technology used by scientists at the moment.

By exploring the possibility of finding better techniques for reading and storing DNA, Hazel has felt as though she has been a part of real scientific discovery.

Although better methods and technologies may be found, this does not mean that all the questions scientists want to ask about DNA will be answered.

Transcript

What are the top three attributes you’ve developed through your degree?

Explain and argue clearly and concisely:

I think the top thing is the ability to say what I want to say on paper from a scientific point of view. Using what we’ve been taught in lectures and what we’ve learnt throughout our degree here and then combining it in the ability to write a scientific style paper that’s suitable for research publications or anything relevant to the scientific industry.

Work individually and in collaboration with others:

The ability to work well with others and particularly with all the academic members of staff who are more experienced than us and to respect their work and to make our own stamp on it, to take what we’ve been taught and just to give our own opinions, I think that’s very important, that we take what we’ve been given and give what we think back.

Grasp the principles and practices of my field of study:

I think it’s very important that that we’ve learnt what areas of science really interest us. Our degree, when we start, is very wide. The opportunity to develop what we particular desire to do is very interesting. We get options each year so we can essentially design our own degree which I think it very important in we start out in a wide class, there are lots of us in it, and we sort of hone in on something we really enjoy and we can pick our way through our degree as we want to do it.

What are the top attributes you’ve developed through a chosen module?

Connect information and ideas within my field of study:

My favourite module at the moment is one I’m currently still doing. It’s called Functional Genomics and Epigenetics. It’s about looking at our DNA and what makes us different. If you think about identical twins they have the same DNA but they’re not the same and it’s what makes those changes that are really interesting to me. The genomics side of it is looking at the original methods that the human genome project used to sequence the first DNA sequence and finding better techniques for doing it because it’s not cost effective at the moment to do it or to store it. So it’s looking at new ways in deciphering the human genome.

Use technologies to access and interpret information effectively:

There’s a really interesting one which is using digital technology combined with the technology that has already been designed to build a cheaper cost effective machine. That would mean a revolution in medical sciences. I think a desire to want to be a part of that, building the new machines that could be a revolution to this. An appreciation of how difficult it’s been for the last 10 years to actually sequence the human genome, the work that the scientists put into it and the ingenuity that they had in imagining a machine that could do is just amazing.

Curiosity and openness to change:

Also an appreciation for a thing in science that no question is ever really answered; we may find a method for sequencing the human genome but it may not answer all the questions we want it to answer.