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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Meet the Undergraduate – Nathan Long

In this student blog we spoke to Nathan Long. Nathan joined Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in 2016 and is currently in his second year of studying a BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS).

Nathan Long working in the QMUL lab

Nathan Long

Why did you decide to come to QMUL?

It was my first year and I didn’t want to move from my home in Essex so I was looking at universities based in Essex and London. I looked at a few options but I knew I wanted to work in London. I knew I wanted to do a Science subject. I was looking at things like Biomedical Science but I was doing quite well in Chemistry and Chemistry was my passion, and I thought ‘can I find a something where the two areas mix?’ I saw QMUL has a BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, which offers a perfect tie of the biological, biomedical science side with chemistry.

After visiting, I fell in love with the university and I sent my application in straight away. Obviously QMUL has a great reputation, being a Russell Group university. But I also like the community around here, it feels like a little town, being a campus based university with accommodation, the bank, the shops, the library, it felt like one little home where you could feel very safe and comfortable.

What do you enjoy about life at QMUL?

I enjoy the course content the most, it’s exactly how I imagined it would be. It’s very Chemistry focussed and it’s nice to get that real in-depth knowledge of your subject. I enjoy the independence you get at university, socialising on campus with students and our staff. I really like the lab work, I like being in a very practical environment and we get 100 hours of practical work a year, which is quite considerable really. The facilities, the useful equipment and the independence you get here when working on your own in the labs is great.

I’m very excited that this summer I will be doing a voluntary internship at QMUL with Dr Leslie Howell, one of my lecturers. We’re currently looking at doing anti-obesity and weight loss drugs to help combat diabetes, which I’m really looking forward to. I also enjoy interaction I have with the lecturers who are always really friendly. They are very sociable and can chat with you about your academic life and your pastoral life too.

What are you plans for the future?

Following my BSc, I definitely want to take further studies, a Masters and possibly a PhD here at QMUL. I think if I have higher qualifications, it will be more attractive to employers and make me stand out. I also have a strong interest in Law, having competed nationally in law competitions. There is a lot of potential to combine Law and Chemistry in something like Medical Malpractice Law which is something very related to my course as I do a lot of drug Chemistry. I could also move towards drug development or drug design research in research and development chemistry within pharmaceutical companies.

People think if you study chemistry, you’ll end up in a lab with a white coat and goggles but you can end up in financial companies due to the analytical skills you’ve built up, you could work in fashion and cosmetics because the basics of all cosmetics is chemistry. You can work in forensic science or toxicology. The subject really does tie into so many potential industries and careers, and it is because of the skills you gain on the course – working independently, research skills, analytical skills, writing reports, there are so many transferrable skills.

What do you enjoy outside of your study?

My girlfriend and I both like to do jiu jitsu, it’s good fun. I spend a lot of time in the academic life so doing jiu jitsu breaks up my study a bit and helps to keep me a bit fitter. I had never thought of doing a martial art but I’m progressing well and I’ve taken part in some national competitions.

Any advice to those thinking of studying at university?

I think the most important thing if you want to study a science is to enjoy your subject. Sciences are some of the hardest degrees and they are highly regarded because they are so intensive. You will study a lot and be in the lab a lot so make sure it’s a subject you like. I think if students are looking to study at a university, go to visit the university and have a look round, whether it is a campus tour or an open day. Also, work hard on your A Levels!

To learn more about undergraduate programmes at SBCS, please visit:



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