Galvin Leung - Biochemistry

I studied an integrated Master of Chemistry undergraduate degree “Medicinal & Biological Chemistry with a Year Abroad” at the University of Edinburgh. My year abroad was during my fourth year and took place in Japan’s Nagoya University with Prof. Kunio Awaga’s advanced materials science laboratory; as part of a new collaboration between Nagoya and Edinburgh, I was the first and only student representing Edinburgh chemistry in Nagoya that year (2014). My masters project at Edinburgh was working on heme-dependent enzymes.

I chose Leicester because Professor Emma Raven was an invited speaker to one of the Edinburgh chemistry’s seminar series, her presentation was fascinating and had inspired me to do a PhD in similar sciences. Additionally I had cited and read many publication of Prof Ravens for my final year report, it occurred to me that Leicester must be very strong with its biochemistry.

I’m currently in the second year of my PhD, which is a project co-supervised between Prof. Emma Raven and Dr. Andrew Hudson who are both from the Department of Chemistry with specialisms in Biochemistry and physical chemistry respectively. We are working towards building a biosensor for the quantification of cellular labile heme. We are using techniques that include protein expressions, fluorescent spectroscopy and in the near future, cell imaging and fluorescent microscopy. I chose the project as I am fascinated by how a little molecule can be so important to life and how much more I can learn around it; the advertisement for the PhD post in Prof. Raven’s group was very attractive with work’s novelty and potential.

The Institute brings a feeling that much can be achieved from the diversity of people and their expertise (as it draws its members from different departments) is one of the most attractive things a research scientist can hear. Moreover, the Institute and department prepare postgraduates well whether they are looking for a teaching career or a research career.

In comparison to the other major cities that I have lived (Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Nagoya and Tokyo), Leicester is relatively small; but despite its size, there is a wide range of diversity and the city is a very friendly and cosy place to live in.

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