Darren Telfer - Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation MSc Student - University of Glasgow

Issued: Mon, 28 Sep 2020 00:00:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I’ve been in almost every castle and museum in Scotland.

Tell us about your career journey so far

I have recently completed an undergraduate degree in pharmacology from the University of Glasgow where I achieved honours of the first class. In my final year, I completed a lab-based project investigating how the fatty tissue which surrounds blood vessels affects contraction when exposed different drugs.

Initially my plan for after graduation was to find a job in drug research. However, due to the pandemic very few companies were hiring. Therefore, I applied to study for a masters in precision medicine and pharmacological innovation at the University of Glasgow. This is an area I have been interested in since high school after attending a lecture about the subject at the Edinburgh science festival.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject in school was biology as I was always interested in how the human body works. I had the same biology teacher for over 5 years and she was excellent at her job. She knew how to make all topics interesting and engaging whilst also encouraging us to read about different topics of science we were interested in during our spare time. It was during Higher biology that I became interested in how drugs can alter physiology and treat different diseases.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

As with any life science degree, biology and chemistry are very important. If you can, I would recommend doing an advanced higher in these subjects as it can make the transition to the early years of university easier. Having a solid understanding of maths is also important as it helps with performing the calculations and data analysis that are involved with practical experiments. Furthermore, to be accepted into any scientific master’s degree you also normally need at least a second-class honours degree.

What is a normal day in your role like?

A normal day at university for me starts with driving into Glasgow. Normally, we would have a 3-hour lecture in the morning and then have the afternoon free. Most of the time my afternoon would be spent in the lab working on my project or in the library working on assignments.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite thing about being a student is having the chance to constantly learn new information. As an undergrad, you have lectures every week about a range of different topics. You are also strongly encouraged to read published articles in scientific journals in areas you are interested in. As a student, you also have the opportunity to attend many extracurricular events. In December 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the yearly British Pharmacological Society conference in Edinburgh. At this event I had the chance to listen to cutting edge research taking place across the world and also had the chance to meet with these researchers to ask questions.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? 

If you want to learn about any science topic, Youtube is an excellent place to further your knowledge. I’ve included some channels that I have used over the years:

https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse

https://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy

https://www.youtube.com/user/scishow

https://www.youtube.com/user/RoyalSociety


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