Our CASE Ph.D. students share their experience.
For the past two decades, Cypex has collaborated with several universities across Europe including working with them to provide practical experiences for their students. This year we welcomed Sian and Alessia, CASE Ph.D. students, from The University of Manchester, and caught up with them to find out how their CASE studentship is going:
Q: You have been working with Cypex as part of your university post graduate programme. Can you tell us more about that?
S: Our CASE studentship was formerly known as a Collaborative Award in Science and Engineering. This collaborative approach means that the university forms industry partnerships to provide students with practical and relevant industry experience as part of our academic Ph.D. Cypex has kindly hosted us, as the industry partner for our 3 year doctorate degree.
A: An important part of our degree is to get out of the academic lab environment to apply our skills in a more commercial way. There is always a good chat over coffee to discuss our academic research and its relevance in industry and the team at Cypex has been very welcoming and friendly.
Q: What kind of work have you been involved with?
A: Cypex is a small company and we have been encouraged to get stuck in and have been offered many opportunities that might not have been possible at a larger company.
S: We are currently working on a microbial enzyme related to the human enzymes that Cypex produce. Our aim is to alter the enzyme’s structure to allow for a larger range of chemical reactions. Dependent on the reactions, the altered enzyme can then be used to make new chemicals on a commercial basis.
A: It’s a real-life scenario for our academic lab-based skills, and we are fortunate to benefit from the knowledge and experiences of the Cypex team to test our theories. We’ve seen a lot of new techniques including fermentation, running production QC assays and whole cell metabolism assays.
Q: What has been your highlight during your studentship?
S: It’s hard to pick just one! I think that the range of experiences has been hugely beneficial to my academic research, and the opportunity to work on a dedicated project to commercialise new enzymes has provided an insight to how we can apply our research. It’s great to get experience from a bio-tech company that supports learning in this way.
A: In addition to learning the commercial side of science outside of the classroom, our studentship has also been an opportunity to live and work in a different city. We are usually based at Manchester Uni’ and working at Cypex has allowed us to spend time in Scotland.
Q: And how does the Dundee student scene compare to Manchester?
A: Dundee is brilliant! It has received significant investment in recent years and has a vibrant and cosmopolitan feel that I was not expecting. Its small size makes it easy to get around and it has a very diverse student community.
S: It has been a very enjoyable experience. Dundee is recognised as an important centre for life sciences in Europe, and Cypex’s reputation in this field is well earned. I would encourage other students to come to Dundee to learn from the team at Cypex.
The team at Cypex wish Sian and Alessia all the best with their studies and every success in their future careers.