Two students take key role in biomedical science committee

  • Date

    Tue 2 Mar 21

Joe Wilmshurst in lab

Two of our final year applied biomedical science students have been undertaking a unique role at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS).

Cain Derrett and Joe Wilmshurst are the only students representing UK undergraduates on the IBMS User and Carer Engagement Group Committee, where they represent the student voice and give valuable feedback on how training can be delivered to students in clinical pathology laboratories.

Explaining their role Joe said: “Actively participating in the committee have provided us with a great opportunity to contribute to the service provided by the IBMS, represent the student voice, and ensure the student training experience is of the highest quality and provides students with the knowledge and experience required to become competent and confident biomedical scientists.”

During their studies both students have taken part in NHS placement years. Cain was at Ipswich Hospital Pathology Laboratory, concentrating on histopathology - the diagnosis and study of diseases of the tissues.

“The placement year was a fantastic opportunity to unify knowledge acquired from my degree scheme to laboratory practice. The completion of the IBMS registration portfolio allowed me to demonstrate both my knowledge and competence for a variety of laboratory skills in a fun and exciting way. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year and would highly recommend it to all biomedical science students, regardless of career aspirations,” said Cain.

Joe, pictured above, whose placement year was focusing on microbiology at the Respiratory Virus Unit based at the National Infection Service, PHE Colindale, added: “It was an incredible experience, allowing me to not only complete my IBMS Training Portfolio, allowing registration with the Health and Care Professions Council following graduation but also use and develop my scientific and technical knowledge and skill set acquired at university using case studies and laboratory practicals.”

Cain Derrett working in a lab)
Cain Derrett working in a lab

During his placement, Joe worked alongside colleagues at PHE Colindale and contributed to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic response effort. “I came away from the experience with greater insight and appreciation of the contribution of biomedical scientists and their colleagues in allied healthcare roles on patient care and public health protection. The experience made me a better scientist and a better student.”

After University, both students would like to pursue a career in science or technology, reassured that their degree and placement experience has provided them with a strong foundation of scientific knowledge and experience that can be applied to a diverse range of roles.

Like all students, COVID-19 has affected their studies. As the pandemic progressed into their final year of study, they were unable to experience any practical laboratory work due to newly imposed restrictions.

“However, the University has provided a plethora of opportunities to develop these vital laboratory skills, including additional summer schools. Although the university experience may be slightly different because of the pandemic, the high quality of education has remained, with little impact on our studies through the effective use of remote teaching,” added Cain.

Despite the impact of the pandemic on their studies both Joe and Cain have enjoyed every aspect of their studies.

“At all levels, the degree has been taught by passionate and knowledgeable staff that go the extra mile to support their students,” said Joe. This exceptional quality of teaching has been complimented by excellent laboratory facilities, numerous opportunities for learning and personal development and above all, exceptional support services provided by the University. We would highly recommend anyone who has a deep passion for science and learning to consider studying at Essex.”