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Elizabeth O'Brien is the programme lead for Medical Genetics BSc (Hons) and Medical Science BSc (Hons) at University Centre Shrewsbury. Her specialisms include the Biology of Genetic Disease and current advances in diagnosis and treatment.

What is a typical day at work for you?

I usually arrive a little early and put the kettle on for a cup of tea to set me up for the day. Then it is generally teaching during the morning and sometimes a laboratory session in the afternoon. If not in the lab then marking or preparing a lecture or perhaps a meeting with colleagues.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Definitely seeing students blossom from slightly scared and unsure when they arrive to confident and ready to face the world of work when they leave. The occasional box of chocolates doesn’t go amiss!

What has been your proudest moment whilst working at the university?

Our first graduation last year without a doubt. I had seen our first cohort through from beginning to end and it was with a mixture of happiness and sadness I watched them all proudly graduate with their families in attendance in the beautiful church of St Chads.

Have you seen anything funny or surprising while working at the university?

I am continually surprised by how much food students seem to be able to consume, especially if it is free.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

We are working closely with a local Biotechnology and hope to be able to offer something really exciting to our final year students which will have real world applications.

What is the best thing about the course?

Medical Genetics gives students the opportunity to study genetics combined with hearing from those who are working in the field of genomics and the very rapid pace of advancement and applications in the clinic for patients. While Medical Science allows students to study medical science combined with hearing from NHS doctors and clinical scientists who practice both locally and nationally. There is also the chance to undertake short work placements within a hospital department to learn what life is like in the workplace.

Choose a movie title for the story of your life.

A Shropshire Lass.

If you could have a superpower what would you choose?

Time travel.

What should your students remember about you?

That all I wanted for them was that they should reach their potential.

What might people not know about you?

I won a singing competition when I was ten.

What is the best piece of advice that you could give to a student?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way even if it does not fit in with your plan. You never know where it might lead.

What makes University Centre Shrewsbury unique?

We get to know all our students and so are able to offer support and guidance to each and every one. We are in a beautiful town in the loop of the River Severn with a very active cultural scene where there is always something to offer.


Find out the latest news from the UCS Bioscience department at their Facebook page. If you'd like to learn more about studying Medical Genetics or Medical Science at UCS, why not come along to one of our upcoming Visit Days? You can book your place here

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