Michael Rugen
MSc Chemical Biology

Michael Rugen

Where are you from and what are you studying?

Originally I am from Cheshire. I did my undergraduate at Leeds, I did Bio-Chemistry for three years and then I decided to do a Masters in Chemical Biology to gain a deeper understanding of the chemistry side of things. 

Why did you want to do a Masters?

Well, I did a lab-based dissertation during my first degree and it was a case of asking myself whether I wanted to continue on to PhD. I enjoyed the lab work but my dissertation didn’t give me a full taste for it and so I took this particular Masters course because I got to spend five months of it in the lab which is fantastic. So this Masters really confirmed my direction and I have now graduated and moved into a PhD in Norwich. 

What about the quality of the teaching?

The teaching was fantastic and it was very organised between Chemistry and Biology. I was the only biologist on the course and so for me to understand some of the chemistry was sometimes a bit tricky but the teachers were always there if you had questions and the door was always open if you had any problems. 

What was it like being a student for the Masters year?

It was a bit more hard work than undergraduate but you would expect that. I relished the hard work to be honest and  I really enjoyed the lab work which I did. My supervisor was there on a day-to-day basis and I got so much knowledge from having the hands-on sessions in the lab. I was getting on with the work but there was always someone there to support me. 

What did you think of the facilities?

They were fantastic. If you wanted an experiment which required some technique, they either had it present or they had access to it through somewhere else. There never seemed to be any barriers to the equipment needed.

So would you recommend doing a PhD?

Definitely yes, I believe it gave me exactly what I wanted which was a better grounding of the chemical side of bio-chemistry. As an undergrad in Bio-Chemistry you do a lot of the biology and a lot of the human side and the genetics, but when it comes down to it, I wanted a bit more nitty-gritty. I wanted a bit more actual chemical names and molecules and drawings. It’s very easy to draw a blob and say that it’s a chemical but I wanted to know what its structure was and how it related to what it did. I wanted to get a better grasp of that and the Masters course definitely helped me with that.