What our MSc Stem Cell Technology students say
How to apply and more information about this course
Nigel De Melo
Year of study: 2014-15
Destination: The EPSRC Doctoral Training Programme of the Universities of Loughborough, Nottingham and Keele
"The MSc Stem Cell technology course has been equally challenging and rewarding. The excellent structure of the programme allows for a robust education within the field of regenerative medicine. The course delves into the the pillars of stem cell biology while also allowing us to build an excellent set of both academic and practical skills. The exceptional facilities and tutoring provided as well as the broad range of topics and skills taught make this course a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience."
Year of study: 2014-15
Destination: PhD studentship at Queen's University Belfast
"I've always wanted to do a PhD since my undergraduate degree at Aston University. With just a BSc however, this can be quite challenging. As such, I decided to apply for an MSc in Stem Cell Technology at the University of Nottingham after working in a water microbiology laboratory for a year. I chose this course at the University of Nottingham primarily because of my interest in the stem cell field, but also because the course offered by the University of Nottingham contained significant laboratory contact time (about 40%), as well as providing even coverage in all aspects of the field.
My time on this course has flown by - it doesn't feel like a year since I've started at all! It has been one of the most intense, challenging, but ultimately, rewarding things I have done in my career, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in pursuing research in stem cells. Even for those who do not wish to work in research, this course offers an insight into the biotechnology industry through the business plan module. I would heartily recommend this course to anyone wishing to prepare for a PhD or for those wanting to gain an insight into industrial science."
More student profiles
Graduated in 2012. Now studying for a PhD working with human pluripotent stem cells.
Being part of the MSc Stem Cell Technology course has given me the opportunity to be involved in practical experiments of the highest calibre. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them.
For each of the five taught modules there has been the opportunity to undertake practical based studies.
The two experimental sessions which stand out for me were in the Embryonic Stem Cells and Adult Stem Cells modules. Each offered the chance to experiment with new and exciting techniques, which I had not previously used.
The Embryonic Stem Cell practical allowed me to develop the techniques to culture human embryonic stem cells and also differentiate these cells towards the cardiac lineage – seeing beating clusters of cells the students had made was amazing!
In the second semester the Adult Stem Cell practical focused on several other specialist techniques relating to stem cell culture.
The first task isolated brain and bone marrow derived adult stem cell populations, while the second task was to culture and differentiate adult neural and mesenchymal stem cells towards mature cell lineages. I found parts of the practicals difficult but very rewarding in terms of personal development.
The sessions have allowed me to develop the skills I needed to tackle my summer project, which will be to investigate epigenetic stablity in human embryonic stem cells.
I have also secured a PhD working with human pluripotent stem cells. I couldn’t have done this before I took the MSc, so there’s no question the practicals have greatly benefitted me.
Graduated September 2011. Worked for RegenTec, but moved to Wellcome Trust in business development.
Straight after I graduated, I started work with RegenTec – one of the spin-out companies set up by Professor Kevin Shakesheff. This extended my MSc work and I was involved in the contract production of ‘injectable bone’ scaffolds for a company hoping to use it in their clinical trials.
I worked on the EU Biodesign collaboration in conjunction with other universities across the European Union. One of Biodesign’s aims is to produce novel, intelligently designed scaffolds. One of my first projects is the release of bio-active molecule from scaffolds and I was lucky enough to go to Sweden for the kick-off meeting and returned later for a course.
My training during the masters course, coupled with exposure to industry/academic collaborations and to the inner workings of a spin-out company, has been invaluable in helping me select my career. To this end, I applied and was awarded a position on the Wellcome Trust Graduate Development Programme. I’m particularly interested in business development.
At the interview, I was able to discuss all the aspects of the masters course and tell them about the summer research project, and my interactions with academics and researchers. They were impressed with my project and time management skills, as well as the business plan competition. I got the job and started in September 2012.
Graduated Sept 2011. Undertaking a PhD split between the UK and Singapore.
For me, the MSc was an enjoyable, challenging and invaluable course. Before starting the programme I was unsure of whether or not I wanted to carry out a PhD, and my undergraduate degree in biological sciences meant that I had no real focus in a particular area of science research.
The MSc has given me a sense of direction. I have become enthusiastic and passionate about stem cell research and regenerative medicine, and it has greatly improved my career prospects in an ever expanding, innovative area of science.
I particularly enjoyed the three month summer project where we were able to carry out independent research at a high level. It made it clear to me that a PhD was what I wanted to do next. We were able to gain experience in designing experiments, carrying out research, analysing our results and presenting the data – all of which have given me a greater understanding and confidence in what a PhD will entail.
In September 2012, I started a PhD split between the University of Manchester and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore. I combine biomaterials and biochemical signals to optimize chondrocytic differentiation from progenitor cells, in order to develop a more efficient and rapid method for cartilage repair.
As one of the world’s richest nations, Singapore is an exciting place for scientific research, with huge growth in the biomedical sciences over recent years. I’ve learnt from my masters course that working with people in different countries, sharing expertise and building a bigger scientific community is extremely important.
Graduated Sept 2009. In the final year of her PhD working in heart disease.
I’m currently a third year PhD student in the department of STEM working on a project using human induced pluripotent stem cells to model genetic disorders of the heart. My journey here started in 2008, when I came from India to the UK to study on the MSc in Stem Cell Technology.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the course. The teachers are great, the facilities are excellent and the vast amount of resources available to students for their curricular and extra-curricular development is commendable.
The state-of-the-art research facilities here in Nottingham really impressed me and I wanted to stay on and do a PhD. I didn’t have funding for a PhD but the University’s International Office offers scholarships. It is really competitive to get these awards and this is where the MSc course helped so much. I was already in the University system and I had done my summer project with Professor Chris Denning. He had got to know me during the year on the MSc project and so he was able to help me with the application. He also was able to write a good reference for me – it helped that I was top of the class that year but I worked really hard to achieve that.
The past three years at Nottingham haven’t just trained me for scientific research, they’ve also given me the tools and skill-sets required to develop into a more confident and well-rounded individual. In fact, last year I won a prestigious prize from the British Federation of Women Graduates.
This award – the Ruth Bowden Scholarship Award – was a £5,000 cash prize, which was presented to me after a fantastic dinner. There were hundreds of entries and just one prize. There were also two intensive rounds of selection and interview, during which I had to give a talk to a prize committee. I’m extremely grateful to my supervisor Professor Chris Denning whose support and guidance was invaluable. But it was the masters course that started me on this path and gave me the skills I needed.
Graduated in 2010. Currently a research assistant in human induced pluripotent stem cells, France.
I did my first degree in Biological Sciences, Heriot-Watt Uni, Edinburgh but I also had the opportunity to do a 3-month internship at The International Centre for Life, Newcastle. I was working on umbilical cord blood stem cells but although this was a fascinating topic, I discovered I knew very little about stem cells.
I started looking for a Masters and applied to the MSc Stem Cell Technology Course because it was the only one entirely dedicated to stem cells.
I did not know what to expect before starting (the course is based on stem cells and that’s all I thought). But I discovered a vast topic instead, which is interconnected with many other fields of science (genetics, maths, tissue engineering, business, molecular biology, cell imaging etc…). I gained more than high quality technical skills during this year. I was impressed by such a high quality of teaching (compared to how it’s like in my country), and finally I made really good friends in this course J. The part of the Course I enjoyed the most was the time in the lab, which constitutes about half of the time. In particular I really liked the 3 month summer project but the business plan competition was great too (a lot of work… but a lot of fun too!!).
I strongly recommend this course to anyone interested in stem cells. This course is really intense and demanding but at the end of day it really raises you to an upper level. I am currently working in a research lab in France as a research assistant. My project is based on adipose tissue derived stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells. I will be starting a PhD in September 2011 in the same lab.
Graduated in 2010. Currently studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham in Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.
My first degree was in Biochemistry & Genetics at the University of Nottingham. I was keen to do a taught Masters and the pioneering MSc in Stem Cell Technology was ideal; the only other options available elsewhere were MRes courses. I was also able to secure one of the scholarships provided by the course, which certainly helped..!
I was impressed by the lecturing, which was very detailed and gave a wide-ranging overview of this rapidly-changing field. The lab-based practicals were paced just right and gave me training in aseptic cell culture, which has proved to be invaluable in my further studies. Also, the Business Plan project introduced me to patents and intellectual property. The Course was hard but it instilled a great work ethic; prior to this MSc I was a lazy undergraduate!
I think this course is invaluable if you are planning to do a PhD to do with stem cells, as the course is held in high regard. Your interviewers do pick up on this fact and are keen to know more about this MSc. Also the training in aseptic cell culture is useful if you are looking to branch out into other areas of science or industry. I’ve now taken up a 4 Year PhD at the University of Birmingham in “Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine” but I still refer to my MSc lecture notes...
Graduated in 2009. Now a Marie Curie Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Toronto
After my undergrad in Biomedical Science, I took the MSc Stem Cell Technology Course to further my skills. The Course offered a unique blend of scientific research and commercialization in regenerative medicine, thereby providing me equal opportunity to pursue my passion and interest in the same field.
The quality of teaching and research facilities is excellent, and this was further enhanced by inclusion of visiting lecturers from different research institutions; this was an immensely useful opportunity of learning and networking from different experts in the field. The structured modules, along with frequent journal clubs and practical sessions, enriched my knowledge in field of Regenerative Medicine.
The business plan competition and technology transfer research project was intense but influenced my career path, as did the three month summer research project that helped me develop hypothesis drafting and problem solving skills.
All these virtues have been immensely useful for my career and enabled me to secure a prestigious ‘Marie Curie Pre-Doctoral Fellowship’, which is between the University of Toronto (Canada) and Excellness Biotech (Switzerland).
Graduated in 2008. Now a Technical Sales Executive for Northern Europe, Stem Cell Technologies Inc, Cambridge, UK
After my first degree in Biomedical Sciences, I wanted to learn more about stem cells and develop my career in this area. The Masters in Stem Cell Technology was a new course; it only started in 2007 and being in the first intake year, I felt like a bit of a guinea-pig..! It was also the only course of its kind available and the curriculum looked great.
The course was pretty intense and hard work, but I learnt a huge amount about stem cells derived from different sources and about tissue engineering. The lab practicals form a large component of the course and are extremely valuable. In particular, I really enjoyed the practical on culturing human embryonic stem cells and the 3 month summer research project, where you work in ‘real’ research in one of the academic’s labs.
Perhaps the biggest highlight for me was the business plan competition, which ended up in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to business leaders. This was fantastic (especially because my team won..!) and it gave me the confidence I needed to make my next big pitch; my interview with Stem Cell Technologies, which is where I have worked since 2008.
I now sell the reagents and equipment to the people that taught me about stem cells..! I can safely say that doing the Masters in Stem Cell Technology is the best thing I’ve ever done. Thank you
Graduated in 2008. Went on to study for a PhD at the University of Nottingham
I knew I wanted to do a PhD, but even with a good Biochemistry degree from Nottingham I found that potential PhD supervisors wanted a student with more experience. The Masters Course in Stem Cell Technology seemed to be ideal for gaining more knowledge and lab skills, and seemed pretty exciting too.
The part of the Course I liked the best was the summer research project. My project was different to everyone else’s because I wanted to study plant stem cells (most people did their projects with animal stem cells). It went really well and eventually my data contributed significantly to a research publication.
Ultimately the MSc gave me the necessary qualification and experience to be able to secure a PhD. The course was quite intense but this just helped me hone my time-management and planning skills.
Graduated in 2008. Worked at UK Stem Cell Bank
My first degree was in Forensic Science. Stem cell research had always interested me and I wanted to gain more experience in this area, but I wasn’t sure whether I would be accepted onto a Masters in Stem Cell Technology when my first degree was classified as ‘Physical Sciences’...
... I needn’t have worried because the course is designed to accept people from different backgrounds.
For me, the 3 month summer research project was the highlight, as was the 3 week practical on working with human embryonic stem cells. Through these components, I was able to develop the skills I needed to work in a research lab and, as a DIRECT result, I got a job at the UK Stem Cell Bank working with human ES cells. At interview, my employers were impressed with my knowledge of stem cells...
I worked at the Stem Cell Bank for about 2 years but now I’m training to be a Science Teacher on the Graduate Teacher Programme. I teach A Level Biology as a result of the MSc.
Nurul Mohammed Yusof (2012/13) from Malaysia
Lazaros Fotopoulos (2012/13) from Greece
Xuewei Qu (2012/13) from China
Laura Ruiz Cantu (2012/13) from Mexico
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