School of Science, Engineering & Design

Student views

Ben Hitchinson

His final-year research project has encouraged Ben to think of further study after he graduates.

Ben Hitchinson

BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

'Teesside’s biological sciences degree really jumped out at me. Coming along to the open day was the deciding factor.'

Why did you come to Teesside University?

I have always been interested in biology, so it felt a natural path for me to follow. Teesside’s biological sciences degree really jumped out at me. Coming along to the open day was the deciding factor.

What’s the course like?

I have found the course even better than I expected. The biology facilities are impressive – the cancer research and applied biology labs include some really hi-tech equipment. We get to use equipment that, as an undergraduate, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have access to. Staff trust us to do our own work and that trust is repaid.

Which are the best parts?

Microbiology, studying microorganisms and their effects on humans, encompasses quite a large element of the course. Molecular biology looks at the structures of different organ cells. It’s really interesting, combining the clinical side of biology and biological functions, while anatomy and physiology are very focused on humans.

And your dissertation?

My research project and dissertation are examining the effects of the drug fenofibrate on the expressions of a gene which has links with cancer. I’m doing much of my work in the cancer research and applied medicine lab. I’m experimenting using stored frozen cell lines within one of the lamina floor cabinets which keeps everything sterile.

Biological research is difficult – we have to deal with contamination and infections problems. There are ways of dealing with them but it lengthens the process. And yet overcoming these setbacks makes it more enjoyable.

What next?

My degree opens up a lot more options than I thought it would. At the moment I’m really torn between studying medicine as a second degree, or doing a master’s or PhD in oncology.