Diogo Ann Onuselogu

About your course/programme

Why did you choose to study your course?

I chose to study my course to learn about how big data and precision medicine is furthering our knowledge in biology, medicine, and public health.

What do you enjoy about your course?

I’ve been deeply interested in all the modules. The well-planned mix of academic study, real-world projects and industry placement opportunities have been exciting, challenging, and rewarding.

What have been the highlights of the course so far?

Seeing how far I have come and what I have been able to learn and do in the last year. As someone of a biomedical sciences background, I’m proud I was able to learn and use calculus, statistics, and programming beyond what I had ever learnt before.

What has been the greatest challenges throughout your course so far?

The greatest challenge was being brought outside my comfort zone. There were many interesting yet slightly intimidating lecture topics I was not confident about before starting the course. Even though I had to put in the extra hours to understand what I was being taught and how to use it, it has been such a boon to my studies and my confidence. I feel like I have learnt how to learn quite well!

How do you think the MSc has improved your understanding of data analytics as applied to genomics?

The MSc has provided example upon example of how data analytics has shaped and quickened the pace of discovery in genomics and other “omics” technologies. I now have a better understanding of how various aspects of computer science and biology/medicine can co-operate to reveal great insights about health and disease. The breadth of application is simply amazing.

What is your research project about and what has it involved?

My research project has been an investigation of differential gene expression between cell populations in cancer using public scRNA-seq data. As part of an industrial placement, it has helped me consider how big data and precision medicine can contribute to pharmaceutical R&D.

How do you think doing a research project has benefited you/will benefit you in the future?

Beyond the technology, software, and protocols used to conduct my analysis, I learnt about the roles big data and precision medicine can play in drug development. My industry/research experience has exposed me to the world of working in a large pharmaceutical company. The skills I have gained through my summer placement have increased my confidence in my ability to contribute to the ever-growing fields of precision medicine and health research.

What do you think of the projects available in terms of interest and relevance to the course and future research careers?

There were so many interesting projects to choose from, so I was quite glad that we were able to indicate five of our preferred choices and be allocated a project. The diversity also allowed us to choose projects we felt would be best tailored to our strengths or experience we wanted to gain to do research we are enthusiastic about. I look forward to listening to my coursemates’ present their research!

Did you receive any funding for your studies? If so, how has this impacted your studies?

Yes. I was generously awarded an HDRUK scholarship. It covered all UK fees and provided a monthly stipend that has allowed me to focus on this MSc without needing to work part-time. This MSc programme is short but packed and getting through busy periods are an especially full-time effort! I am quite grateful for the scholarship, especially as an international student.

About the University

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose to study at the University of Leeds because it is a top university with internationally-impacting research in a city full of exciting opportunities. The university campus and culture is welcoming, even with Covid-19. I also felt that a course from UofLeeds would serve as a great launchpad for my career, especially one in health/bio-data analytics.

What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

I’ve loved getting to know my coursemates, though mainly through video calls! It’s also been great chatting with lecturers and professors about their fields of research before or after a lesson. Summer activities at UofLeeds have also been a fun way to get to know the University and meet new people!

What key aspects of your experience at Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming to do the same course?

Get into a good habit of managing your time well from Day 1, and don’t let deadlines creep up on you! However, the module and course leads are very understanding so don’t hesitate to ask them for help or advice – about extensions, research projects, topics in lectures, or even for references.

What are your career aims (short term/long term) and do you think the MSc has prepared you for this?

This MSc has bolstered my computational and analytics skills, especially with respect to biological data. Be it through an academic or industrial post, I hope to continue using my computational skills to generate insights from health/biodata and analytics through research. The future is bright for genomics & analytics!