This is an interview by Dr. Dan Lloyd at University of Kent. In this interview he discusses about Cancer and Biotechnology subject, the objectives of the course and advanced practical training in modern biology, much more….
Q. What course do you teach?
A. MSc Cancer Biology.
Q. What are the main objectives of this course?
A. We aim to provide an advanced practical training in modern biology, so that students who graduate have a full complement of the cutting edge skills required to undertake research within an academic or industrial environment. But we provide this training within the context of understanding and treating cancer. We also provide students with experience of science outside of the laboratory - regulation, law, communication, etc - to build their portfolio of skills and further enhance their employability.
Q. Is this a popular course amongst Indian students? How many Indian students do you have on this course?
A. It is a popular course for students from all over the world, including India. Cancer is a growing area and one that interests many young scientists. Increasingly, students from India are seeking to develop their undergraduate training in Biotechnology and pursue something rather more specialized. I think that this course is popular because it offers the advanced training in cutting-edge molecular biology but harnesses it in understanding cancer and developing new therapies.
Q. What qualities do you think students need in order to succeed on this course?
A. They need to be academically gifted and willing to work hard. We expect students to have a First Division or equivalent as a minimum, but we also want students to immerse themselves in the experience that defines postgraduate study from an undergraduate degree program. They must be willing to contribute their ideas and thoughts in class and develop their own critical skills.
Q. What career options are open to Indian graduates from this course?
A. A range of options are available, both within and outside the laboratory. Some seek to do further training at PhD level, while others seek employment in the industrial/biotechnology sector. The course trains students well for these options, and the advanced biological skills learned will be suitable for many research fields, not just cancer.
Q. How does the course prepare students for the professional world and/or further study?
A. We incorporate innovation in terms of the assessments we expect of students. Many courses will give a solid grounding in cancer and modern molecular biology, from an academic and practical perspective. Strength of our course is that we have our students apply that knowledge outside the laboratory – for example in patent analysis and writing – as well as within it. It is also taught by active cancer researchers and award-winning teachers.
Q. Are there any funding opportunities available for Indian students who are applying to enroll?
A. We provide a £1,500 academic scholarship for Indian students who meet our entrance requirement of a First Division or equivalent in their undergraduate degree programmes. There are also opportunities for sessional teaching within the School of Biosciences.