School of Science

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"The friendly atmosphere in the Department was one of the main reasons I chose to stay at Loughborough to do a PhD."

Student testimonials

At Loughborough University's School of Science we strive to support our students on their doctorate journey every step of the way, providing a truly inspiring experience.

Find out what some of our current and former doctorate students have to say about us below.

Liam Heaney [PhD Analytical Chemistry]

I have always been a keen sportsman and interested in the physiological side of performance. Therefore, I began my academic journey at Loughborough University in 2006, where I completed a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science. After I completed this in 2009, I took a year to work where I saved up enough money to fund my MSc in Exercise Physiology, which I completed in 2011. Originally, I wanted to work with professional sports clubs, helping the players with my sport science knowledge and practical experiences.

After I completed my Master’s degree, I was fortunate to receive funding from the Graduate School at Loughborough University to continue my academic learning through a PhD studentship. I joined Chemistry and began to learn about analytical chemistry, with particular focus on gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. I was part of Prof Paul Thomas' research group and I spent several years looking at volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath as potential biomarkers in response to exercise. I completed my PhD and published my thesis in 2016 with the title 'Exhaled Breath Analysis in Exercise and Health'.

Since November 2014, I have worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester. My research focuses on small molecule metabolites and their roles as biomarkers in cardiovascular disease. My work employs the analysis of clinical samples (usually plasma or serum) using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques and analysing the data to understand whether certain metabolite biomarkers have diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic associations with disease.

My ambitions are to continue with the research that I am currently doing and to progress into an academic role as a lecturer. I wish to obtain my own funding to do research and slowly grow my own research group to look at mass spectrometry-based assays for metabolomics biomarker discovery, characterisation and quantitation in both healthy and disease populations.

My initial study and PhD at Loughborough has helped me gain recognition for my research through invitation to film for BBC One's documentary 'The Truth About Meat' and provide an expert opinion piece for The Analytical Scientist.

Will Morgan [PhD Mathematical Sciences]

I have always enjoyed mathematics because I have always found it challenging and rewarding in equal measure. I also like the idea that there is a correct answer, unlike many subjects which are more subjective!

I actually came to Loughborough University to study engineering, as I wanted to try something that would use my physics A-level. However, I struggled on the engineering course in the first year and decided to change. The University was very helpful in orchestrating this change from engineering to pure mathematics at the end of my first year.

During my degree I found the mathematics department at Loughborough to be very friendly and to maintain very high standards of teaching both in and out of lectures. Also, the mathematics learning support centre was an invaluable resource to me and I think would be of use to anybody coming to Loughborough. The friendly atmosphere in the Department was one of the main reasons I chose to stay at Loughborough to do a PhD.

Loughborough University is a great place to be based. It has a central location for access to all of the nearby cities (Nottingham, Derby and Leicester). Loughborough is a small town but has surprisingly many bars and shops in the centre and is geared towards student life (students make up a quarter of the population). The University itself is renowned for its sporting prowess and with this reputation comes many second to none sporting facilites which are open for use by all students. In the time I have been at Loughborough (5 years and a bit!) there has been a lot of development of the University. This development has helped Loughborough to become on of the leading Universities in the country.

I have enjoyed my time at Loughborough immensely and would recommend it as a University for anyone to come and get a mathematics degree.

Zhenyu Chen [PhD Computer Science]

Loughborough University has a very good reputation among students. It has a very good academic atmosphere, and the location of the University is also very nice and friendly, as I preferred a small town to a large city in terms of study.

I chose to come here because of some friends who came to the University before I did. I also found out about Loughborough from information in online communities such as forums.

Studying here, the biggest difficulty, at first, was the language barrier. Then, after that I believe, there is the difference between education approach, and potential gaps between our educational background, knowledge and the expectation of lecturers.

But at Lougborough you get great weather and a good environment, meeting and working with people from different parts of the world. The facilities are wonderful. There are both great academic facilities such as the library and the new computer labs, and sport facilities such as swimming pool and gym. The teaching is good, as most of the modules are very well designed and make good use of the facilities we have. There is a good combination of more theoretical modules and more practical modules.

I plan to work in the academic area after I get my PhD. My MSc (Internet Computing and Network Security) experience here not only directly contributes to my current work academically, but also grants me personal experience as a student, which I believe to be very helpful if I need to design a new module or teach an existing one in future.

To anyone thinking of coming to Loughborough to study, I would say that a one-year MSc course can be quite intense, but if you prepare yourself and work hard, you will learn a lot in a relatively short time and it will be a great experience in your life as well.

Shuqi Yang [PhD Chemistry]

I studied Pharmaceutical Engineering for my undergraduate degree at the China Pharmaceutical University. I then completed an MSc in Pharmaceutical Science and Medicinal Chemistry at Loughborough before beginning my PhD here. I really enjoyed my postgraduate taught course at Loughborough University. It was different from China and gave me more chances and spaces to think and solve problems by myself.

The project side of things was the most enjoyable part and the most useful. I worked in a lab and was able to conduct a project and experiment by myself for the first time. My supervisor gave me a lot of support and space to help me develop. And the staff in the lab were able to teach me and expand on my knowledge; such as how to do a column, how to use the equipment and how to do a good reaction. I really loved it and this was one of the reasons that I stay here to do my PhD.

The title of my research project is “Synthesis and Stabilisation of Novel UV Absorbers”.

Polyethylene film is widely used as a greenhouse covering material in order to protect plants from adverse weather conditions as well as minimising temperature losses during the night and providing a degree of heat control during the day.

The focus of my research project is to identify a route to synthesise molecules that will preferentially absorb UV-A radiation whilst transmitting high levels of radiation in the UV-B region of the spectrum which is beneficial to plant growth.

When searching online, the University seemed like the best place to study, where students have a good working environment. Loughborough is a small town which suited me well; I prefer a quiet place to study where I can put my whole heart into it when I need to. As well, I was able to get a 25% discount to fund my postgraduate taught degree from the University.

The staff are wonderful; I like every one of them. Every time I have problem, they are always on hand to help me as much as I need. They are nice and really easy to talk to.

Most of the facilities are good. For my research, the facilities in my department are perfect. And every year the department looks to improve them. 

This is a wonderful place with wonderful staff. I very much enjoyed my masters and have found myself staying here to complete my PhD. I have learnt knowledge in the lab, gotten teaching experience for conducting demonstrations in the teaching lab and improved my English by communicating with my colleagues and staff.

We have a large university and after dinner I often go for a walk around the campus. I also love the swimming pool and go swimming every week. I really appreciate these facilities, especially the swimming pool as we did not have one in my undergraduate university.

One of the modules I took on my Masters really opened my eyes to the different ways of learning. The Professional Skills and Dissertation module involved working in groups to analyse and solve an industry problem; in this case, at what point did a certain river become polluted on its journey. The module taught me about the importance of process and analysis, my own thinking and working as a team. It was a very different style of teaching from China and I found it very interesting and helpful.  

I was also inspired from my volunteer work, where I was given the opportunity to be involved in helping at a competition for schools called ‘Top of the Bench’, which is run by the Royal Society of Chemistry. With 30 teams from secondary schools involved, my role involved helping to set up, show competitors where to go and help them whenever they needed it. This was the first time I had volunteered for something like this and I really enjoyed it. It was inspiring to see how the competition worked, learning how to be patient with the students and understanding more about others and this country.