"I joined the University of Surrey to study for an MSc in Drug Discovery after completing an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the Institut Quimic de Sarria in Barcelona.
Once I received my acceptance letter, visited the campus and chatted with the programme director, I was positive Surrey was the right place for me, and the University’s strong league table placement and course programme overview confirmed this. The mix of taught modules and the research component impressed me, as it gave you a real taste of what it’s like to work in an industrial laboratory – invaluable for a future career within the pharmaceutical field.
I found the supervisors went out of their way to help. As I came to Surrey from abroad, it was really comforting to know that you could count on them for personal and professional advice. There’s a real ‘open door’ culture at Surrey – staff make time for you no matter what.
My favourite modules were those related to medicinal chemistry, as they gave me the chance to dig deeper and explore the ins and outs of the drug discovery process.
The mix of taught modules and the research component impressed me, as it gave you a real taste of what it’s like to work in an industrial laboratory – invaluable for a future career within the pharmaceutical field.
Following my MSc, I am now studying for a PhD in Organic Chemistry. My supervisor, Dr Daniel Whelligan, was the lecturer teaching this subject during my MSc, and I thought it would be fantastic to be part of his research group. Knowing the academic who will supervise your PhD before starting it is key, as you’ll spend four years working with that person.
The MSc gave me the opportunity to work in the synthesis of drug-delivery polymers, which was a new area for me. As part of Dr Whelligan’s research group, I’m currently engaged in the laboratory synthesis of inhibitors of the DNA Repair Enzyme Aag. I’ve acquired practical skills in the lab and developed the ability to communicate my research by presenting in different conferences, such as the PGR conference organised here at Surrey or the RSC postgraduate symposium at Bristol.
There is a great environment in the Department of Chemistry. I was a student representative during my Masters which was really rewarding and a great chance to meet new faces. I am now involved in the Postgraduate Society with some other PhD students, and we do all kinds of activities together outside working hours.
When I finish my PhD, I would like to work as a medicinal chemist in a pharmaceutical company, following my interest in drug discovery. However, being an organic chemistry, other areas like those involving the production of cosmetics, flavours or dyes are also appealing."