The first wave of students who joined Bournemouth University’s Biomedical Science course are due to complete their studies in this vital and rapidly growing field of science.
Biomedical science underpins the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions by doctors and clinicians. Every time a patient provides a sample in their GP surgery or hospital it will be sent to a biomedical science laboratory to be screened for signs of disease.
Scientists in this field also play a pivotal role in research into potential treatments for a wide range of diseases including cancer, diabetes, meningitis and Alzheimer’s, and measuring the effectiveness of treatment in clinical trials.
Fully equipped laboratories on campus provide students with the chance to explore different techniques for developing medicines and how they are used to treat illness. In addition, last year the University launched a partnership with University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust to offer thirty-week work placements for some students. This allows them to put their studies into practice, helping patients in a real-life clinical setting.
Second-year student Paige Norton-Edwards chose this area of study after being diagnosed with a health condition herself. She said, “I do not want anyone else to go through the same experiences as me and I want to help find new methods and diagnostic technologies so patients can get definitive answers about what is wrong.”
After completing her undergraduate studies she hopes to carry out a PhD in the condition she has.
Liam Hayden is also a second-year student on the course. He said, “Studying biomedical science opens a lot of doors, it is not a narrow course. To begin with I wanted to go into embryology but now I have found my interest is in cancer research, although I am also getting interested in statistics so bioinformatics could be a possibility too!
"That is the reason I chose this course, I wanted something that could help me look into different branches. It is a very good course for someone who wants to study something science or medicine based but who might not know exactly what area they want to go in to yet.”
Students and academics from the programme joined clinical partners from UHD on 9th June to mark Biomedical Science Day, organised by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, and celebrate the first cohort’s completion of the course.
Matt Baggot, Laboratory Manager at University Hospitals Dorset (UHD) said, “We are just about to complete our first student internship and it has gone incredibly well. The students have got well and truly into the laboratory way of life, getting valuable experience that will help them in the job market - whether that is in the NHS or the private sector.”
Simon McLean, Haematology Laboratory Manager at UHD added, “Our work is twenty-four-seven, it never stops. There are not enough scientists currently coming through to meet the pressures on the workforce so forging this relationship with the University is crucial for home-growing the scientists who will be our workforce in the future."
Dr Sarah Buchan, Lecturer in Immunology at Bournemouth University said, “Whilst the lockdowns have presented students with challenges, the fact that the department helped set up PCR testing at the hospital meant we were able to teach the students real world applications of biomedical science and put their studies into context. Biomedical scientists are unsung heroes of the pandemic, they were in the labs through the night, in the dark, processing bloods so patients can get the treatments they needed.”
She also highlighted the broad range of career opportunities available for students on the course, “These biomedical science students can take up work in hospital labs which would be incredibly rewarding. But alternatively, they can become academics, writers and there is also a lot of space at the moment in the pharmaceutical industry for biomedical science.”