Yi He

MSc Medicinal and Biological Chemistry 2020

My Course Choice

I did my BSc in Applied Chemistry at Xi’an- Jiaotong Liverpool University, a Sino-British university in China. In this context, due to the familiarity of the British education system, studying further at a British university was a natural choice. As a pure chemist, I was mostly interested in organic chemistry in the first three years of undergraduate study. At that time, my supervisor recommended the University of Edinburgh to me for its leading lab and research team in the field.

During the final year of undergraduate study, I became more interested in the medicinal part of chemistry. I found the chemical structure and synthesis mechanism of the drug fascinating. However, conducting research experiments was hard for me because there were always ‘surprises’ that frustrated me. In the end, the interdisciplinary postgraduate taught (PGT) MSc programme became the first choice, with mainly taught courses and only a short-term research project.

Yi He

My Time at the University of Edinburgh

Exploring new areas can be challenging and exciting. My favourite thing was to attend lectures and take notes selectively. The lecturers here all have excellent skills to impart new knowledge. Many times, the contents made it difficult for me to understand, but lectures used different ways to explain the same thing. I still remember the delightful atmosphere when Professor Dominic Campopiano used ‘potato’ and ‘spaghetti’ to describe the high resolution structure of a complete enzyme, which made us hungry right before lunch time!

Another thing I enjoyed about studying here was the various activities held by the chemistry cohort. The activities provided me opportunities to connect, spend time with friends and make new friends. The best one was the traditional Scottish ceilidh in the second semester which was really amazing. Before the ceilidh, I never thought of a dance that could mimic protein folding and DNA replication. The dance also allowed you to interact with so many people without being embarrassed at all.

After Graduation

After graduating I spent about half a month travelling in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Then I went back to China and enjoyed another five months to rest at home and travel with my parents. I feel refreshed after studying during the lockdown period due to Covid-19.

Now I am looking for jobs in a pharmaceutical company or a research laboratory. The MSc gave me more diverse skills and knowledge, enabling me to choose from different career fields. It also makes me more competitive in applying jobs requiring academic English.