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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Meet the Undergraduate - Sule Serife Ali, BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry

In this blog, third year BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry student and student ambassador, Sule writes about her experience studying at Queen Mary 

Sule Serife Ali

Did someone say Chemistry? 

Hi! I’m a 3rd year BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry student here at QMUL, and I am here to tell you all about it. Studying at Queen Mary has been an unforgettable experience. University is far different from college - you have more free time around your timetable and as a result you grow and adapt into an adult and well-rounded individual. Here at QMUL, your campus is like your home (even if you live at home away from the university), you have all the facilities and resources available right on your doorstep - yes, including your lecturers! 

I am someone that commutes to university, which also adds to my experience and prepares me for working life as an adult. Being and studying in the heart of East London, there is a very diverse culture - there are many places to eat & shop and live your best student life. 

Now onto the fun stuff...Why Pharmaceutical Chemistry?

Throughout year 12, I faced a tough decision on whether to study pure chemistry or chemistry combined with another aspect of science. I personally enjoyed chemistry the most, however I wanted to incorporate my interest in the human body and biological sciences. That’s where I came across the Pharmaceutical chemistry programme at QMUL.

For the 2 years I have studied so far, there has been a remarkable combination of complex chemistry, all the way to how drugs respond to different systems in the human body. You cover a range of topics from Quantum chemistry (similar to molecular physics) all the way to your main reactions in organic chemistry. Whether you are a pure chemist or a pharmaceutical chemist, you must learn the vital fundamentals of chemistry in order to understand the bigger picture.

What is Pharmaceutical Chemistry?

Pharmaceutical chemistry looks more deeply at structures of many types of drug, and the way that drug is targeted in the body. This involves the study of different types of receptors, including key enzymes, the kinetics of the drug and the type of biological target system. Some topic examples include opioid drugs, cardiovascular diseases and local anaesthesia. 

Studying at university

Studying Chemistry at university is no different to A-level, except you must understand what you are learning. Your revision and learning strategy may well stay the same from A-level to university and doing as many questions as you can is still just as important! However, it does get conceptually more difficult as you progress, this shouldn’t be a worry as you will learn one way or another, so don’t let someone tell you otherwise!

My tips for future students

Although you are expected to be more independent, the amount of support you can get is incredible. At university, you must speak up if you do not understand a concept - there is no specific syllabus unlike A-levels and GCSE, so it is crucial you stay organised and up to date.

Alongside my studies here at QMUL, I am a student ambassador for the School of Biological and Chemical sciences. Being an ambassador has strengthened my communication skills and confidence, has allowed me to connect with my school more and take part in many events that the university organises. I’ve found that having a good work-life balance really improves the way I perform academically - many of my peers take up sports, part time roles and so on! University is a very exciting point in your life and use everything to your best advantage - make the most out of your time here! 

Ultimately, I can safely say that I am a proud student of QMUL. I have learnt so many new skills, made lifelong friends and of course, built my way up to becoming a well-rounded and professional chemist from one of the UK’s top leading research universities. 




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