Bethan Durham

Bethan Durham

Bethan is an undergraduate student, currently studying MChem Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Leeds. 

World-leading healthcare research

Bethan decided to study Medicinal Chemistry so she could study dedicated drug design modules and specialise in the development of healthcare. She chose to study this course at the University of Leeds due to the extensive medicinal chemistry research conducted at the university and the large laboratory aspect of the course. 

The highlights of my course have been the drug design and organic chemistry modules. I have developed a detailed understanding of the specific features that improve the efficacy and safety of a drug molecule. I have also improved my confidence as a chemist by applying my knowledge of organic mechanisms to tutorial problems.

Bethan’s favourite project was completing a computational simulation of the Hit-to-Lead optimisation phase of the drug discovery process in order to select the most efficacious molecule from a series of chemical compounds. 

Workshops and tutorial sessions provided her with valuable experience on how to approach exam-style questions.

A vibrant city

Bethan chose University of Leeds because she liked Leeds as a city and was eager to get involved in the many societies available.  

Leeds is an amazing city to be a student. The huge volume of students in the city means there’s always things to do. The fun nightlife alongside opportunities to experience the Yorkshire countryside means studying at Leeds is a really unique experience that I feel lucky to be a part of.

Industrial placement year

Bethan worked as an analytical assistant within the Respiratory Throat Category Team at Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. Her role involved using various analytical techniques, including High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), to perform testing on upcoming Strepsils and Mucinex branded products. Throughout the year she completed an independent research project with the aim of reducing degradant levels in an upcoming product due to launch. She was responsible for laboratory investigations and data processing. 

This product is now on the market, with my contributions having aided the team in meeting the target launch date. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my year in industry. The experience has provided me with valuable technical skills, industry knowledge and connections.

Industrial placement year: Bethan Durham at Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc

Industrial placement year: Bethan Durham at Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc

Chemistry is one of the most widely applicable scientific degree courses, it underpins most products we use and activities we undertake in our daily lives. Knowledge of medicinal chemistry is vital to ensure medical research continues to advance to produce ground-breaking treatments. 

Future career goals

Bethan is eager to pursue a career in Research & Development in the healthcare industry following graduation. Her industrial placement helped her discover the numerous roles available. 

I am particularly interested in improving sustainability of industrial development and manufacturing processes as it is an area I have not had much chance to explore and feel passionately about.

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