Plant Science and Biotechnology masters student at University of Leeds

Olawumi Amusan

Why did you choose to study your course?

During my penultimate year in Botany at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, I took some modules in Biotechnology. The understanding I gained from those modules and the importance of Biotechnology in revolutionizing plant science research sprang my interest to further specialise my knowledge and skills in Plant Biotechnology at the master’s level.

What do you enjoy about your course?

I enjoyed the mode of learning. There were resources available virtually and in-person that facilitated my learning. I found the course relatively easy to follow through. Instructors gave as much information as possible on every module. So, an important skill to develop as graduate student is time management. Another thing I enjoyed was the excellent student-lecturer relationship.

What were the highlights of the course?

Every laboratory practice I did! Dr Chi gave me one of the best experiences I had during my program in protein engineering lab work. Other highlights are the skills I developed during my program such as Time management, people relationship, career development skill from resources from the careerscentre, also oral and written communication.

What has been the greatest challenges throughout your course?

COVID19. Covid was the greatest challenge. I had to take a virtual research project to complete my program.

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

I worked on the molecular basis of seed germination under Dr. Christopher West. Although my PhD research at North Dakota State University in the United States of America now specialises in host-pathogen interaction but my masters’ research project got me started in conducting independent research.

How would you rate the facilities available to you throughout your project? How have these enhanced your experience?

My project was impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. I took the whole project virtually. However, Dr. Chris gave me the support I need in data analysis and in the presentation of my results. He was there for my questions and guided me in using online tools for my research. The experience I had strengthened my application for my ongoing PhD program in Plant Pathology.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I applied and secured admission to three universities in the UK for a master’s program; Imperial college London, University of Newcastle and the university of Leeds. Of these three, University of Leeds provided me the opportunity to study through the commonwealth shared scholarship. I appreciate Shirley Yeadon and Claire cartledge, Leeds scholarship program coordinators for their incredible support throughout my master’s program.