Vikki Clayton
MChem, BSc Medicinal Chemistry

Vikki Clayton

Tell us a bit about your course.

The Medicinal Chemistry course at the University of Leeds gives great exposure to a range of chemistry. Initially, knowledge is built up in the core areas of physical, organic and inorganic chemistry and then later in the course there is the chance to focus more on organic and medicinal chemistry.

What do you enjoy most about it?

I have really enjoyed learning about the drug discovery process and gaining an understanding of the wide variety of mechanisms involved in organic chemistry. It’s very rewarding being able to discuss possible synthetic routes to a drug compound, and a variety of reaction mechanisms, with both academics and those in industry.

Was there anything in particular that made you study Medicinal Chemistry at Leeds rather than another university?

Compared to other universities, I felt academics at Leeds were more approachable and the education offered was on a more personal basis. On the open day, the head of Medicinal Chemistry at Leeds was very informative and ensured I knew everything about the course offered at the University.

Can you tell us about your industrial placement?

I did a year in industry at GlaxoSmithKline, which was extremely beneficial and gave me exposure to chemistry in an industrial setting. I am very grateful for the opportunity, and I really feel the experience has increased my employability and my awareness of the industrial environment.

How has studying at Leeds allowed you to fulfil your potential?

The University of Leeds has given me the support I need to achieve my full potential. The careers centre has been invaluable in applying for, and securing, jobs within chemistry. Furthermore, academics within the department couldn’t be more willing to help with any challenges I faced whilst at Leeds. 

What are your ambitions for the future?

My dream has always been to work in the pharmaceutical industry, developing drugs of the future which will directly benefit patients. Thanks to the support of everyone at Leeds, and the opportunity I was given to work at GlaxoSmithKline in my placement year, I have now secured a fantastic Medicinal Chemistry job which I am very excited to begin later this year. 

What's been your greatest achievement?

I am most proud of consistently working at a 1st class standard throughout my degree. Whilst it was tempting to settle for a pass in first year, achieving a 1st in both first and second year allowed me to secure my industrial placement at GlaxoSmithKline. Graduating in July with a 1st class degree in Medicinal Chemistry this year now seems very achievable and would be something I’d be extremely proud of.

What do you most enjoy about student life at Leeds, in general?

Leeds offers some of the best nights out in the country! Whatever the day of the week, you can always have a great night out. 

What do you do outside of your studies?

I’m an active member of The Horse Riding Society and have been part of the society’s team; we compete regularly at different universities and it’s such a fun sport to be involved in. The society is lovely and everyone is very friendly and approachable; I just wish I’d joined in my first year of university!