What are QGGA graduates doing now, and what did they think of the course?
Mairead Bermingham - Postdoctoral scientist at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
Mairead took the taught section and project in different years, showing how the MSc can be fitted into a working career.
Before embarking on the MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis in 2007, I had obtained a PhD from the National University of Ireland, Cork, in epidemiology and was working on disease susceptibility in cattle. I completed the taught stage of the MSc in May 2008 and rejoined my employer in Ireland for 18 months. I returned to Edinburgh and undertook my MSc project in June 2010 with Profs Liz Glass and Stephen Bishop on the genetics of TB susceptibility in cattle.
I graduated in November 2010 and I am now working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Roslin Institute, focusing on the genetic epidemiology of infectious disease.
Patrick Collins - BBC Global News Division
After finishing the QGGA course I joined the BBC and I currently manage research in Asia and the Pacific for the Global News Division which is really interesting. I’m off to travel round Nepal, China and Russia soon.
As for the course itself, the maxi research project was the most fulfilling academic experience of my life. The work I did resulted in a published paper. I would say that the mathematical content of the course makes graduates much more attractive to employers generally.
Stuart Macgregor - Senior Research Fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
I obtained my first degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Edinburgh. I had little knowledge of biology or genetics prior to starting the MSc course in Quantitative Genetics and Genomics in 2000 but found the course gave me an excellent grounding in the field. I completed a PhD in Statistical Genetics at the University of Edinburgh directly after the MSc course.
After my PhD I took up a lecturing position in genetic epidemiology at Cardiff University for 2 years. In 2005 I then moved to my current position at Queensland Institute of Medical Research, in Brisbane, Australia. In Brisbane I lead a small group investigating gene mapping approaches in human genetics
Richard Maguire - PhD at the University of York
I'm just about to enter the final year of my PhD, a microarray analysis of the myogenic genes MyoD and Myf5 in the developmental model organism Xenopus laevis (the African clawed toad). I'm really glad I took the MSc QGGA course, as it has equipped me with the tools to undertake a thorough statistical analysis of my PhD microarray data with complete confidence.
The small class size engenders a real team spirit between the students on the course, and the teaching staff are incredibly experienced. Combining the theoretical aspects of the MSc with the more 'wet' discipline of my undergraduate degree in Developmental Biology has made my PhD a very rewarding experience.
Sharon Zytynska - PhD at the University of Manchester
I'm now in Ecuador for my PhD fieldwork, having just spent a month in Belize for fieldwork as well. My main project is looking at how much the genetics of tropical trees affects the community of epiphytes living on them. As part of my work, I am collaborating with the University Catolica in Quito and I get to work on my samples in their lab here at the end of my stay!
I also work on a model system back in Manchester on rhizobacteria-barley-aphids-parasitoids. I am writing up a paper on my work which showed that the genetic variation within the bacteria-barley-aphid system, which gives rise to a significant GxGxE interaction, also affects the wing morphology of the parasitoid wasps.
I'm really enjoying my PhD work and the MSc has helped a lot. I would have been lost if I'd done this PhD straight after my undergraduate degree.