At the Forefront of What is New

Tuesday, 1st August 2017

Sarah Markham - PhD in Biomedical Device Materials 

I’ve just finished my MSc in Biomedical Device Materials and I’ve started on my PhD. I loved doing the postgrad; it was the best decision I ever made. The course focuses on materials and material properties and how these can be applied to different medical devices like stents or the manufacturing of contact lenses. The course also covers production, characterisation and a little bit of design.

Biomedical materials science combines two of my passions. When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor but I also loved maths and physics. I really liked the research element of this postgrad. I like being at the forefront of what is new, I find that really challenging but exciting. I love the fact that you could change someone’s life drastically if you create something new. I also found the materials side really interesting and exciting such as how drug delivery could be affected by the properties of the materials or how the production method affects structure.

This is my 6th year in UL, I did my undergrad here and doing the MSc was a change in direction but there was some overlap. People in the master’s programme had different backgrounds from chemistry to biomedical engineering and biology.

I love UL, partly because it is close to home but it is a really good campus and everything is run really well here; the lecturers are really good and they have strong industry links. The science facilities here are fantastic. There are several different labs, the MSSI is the main centre for materials and surface science and now that has incorporated the  the new Analog Devices building as well, just recently opened. You are trained on how to use the equipment properly or a technician is on hand to help you out. There are great supports here such as the science learning centre, the maths learning centre or the ICT learning centre and they will help you if you are struggling; the tutorials are also really helpful and the library is great.

My employability is much higher since doing the MSc. I think almost all of us who came out of the master’s degree course are either employed or pursuing a PhD. We have all gone in different directions too, some people are looking at drug delivery, medical instruments and the crystal structures of the drugs themselves, things we would have touched on during the course. It gave us a good base to go into different research areas.

You need to work hard, there is no way around that but it will be worth it in the end. If anyone is considering it, it is worth taking it on.