Meet Sara Kassam, who is studying our IBMS-accredited BSc Biomedical Science course.

What inspired you to choose this field of study? 

I have always been fascinated by the human body, and each day, I learn something new that blows my mind. This course will allow me to explore the building blocks in life and link this to the clinical aspect of a hospital setting. It is a fabulous mix of multiple disciplines, so I don’t feel limited at all and can discover any field of study that interests me.

Can you tell us about the course? (Lecturers, modules, assignments, etc.) 

The course is packed and we look at many confident professionals in the industry and ways we can positively contribute to the world of work by developing our skill sets. We are assessed in many ways including group presentations, lab reports, multiple choice questions, and practical exams in the laboratory.

The academics are so supportive and so passionate about what they do, and I find that inspiring. Their encouragement and understanding have helped me establish myself here at the University and build my confidence. 

How would you normally start your morning when you come to University? 

The first thing I do on campus is grab a quick snack and a coffee from a Salfood cafe to help me prepare for the day ahead. I like to, especially in the spring and summer months, walk on campus and take in some fresh air. I tend to arrive for my lectures at least 15 minutes before the start time to get in the right frame of mind.

Peel Park on a sunny day

How are your lectures during the week? 

My timetable differs weekly depending on the lectures, practical sessions, and events. Normally, my Mondays and Thursdays are full with lectures which means those are the days I learn a lot.

Tell us about your practical sessions. 

My practical sessions are in the Bodmer Labs and these sessions range from basic lab skill development to tailored practical sessions which tie in with assessments set by the academics. I have completed extractions of DNA, blood grouping, histology and microscopy, electrophoresis, and plating bacteria.

I have also had the opportunity to work with cancer cells in Dr Matthew Jones’s lab. I worked in a biosafety cabinet, maintaining aseptic technique and other specialist equipment like fluorescent microscopes and a machine called Cytation. Practical sessions are not just limited to laboratory sessions; we also have computer sessions for biostatistics and bioinformatics. I love the interdisciplinary nature of the course, which incorporates different skills. 

Sara Kassam and Students at Manchester IBMS Branch event

Have you been on any trips or participated in significant events at University? 

I’ve had the honour of attending many events and representing Salford. Examples of these events include:

  • IBMS Congress 2023 (where students and professionals in the Biomedical Science field come together for informative talks and networking)
  • Biomedical Science Day 2022 (where I helped to raise awareness of Biomedical Science as a potential career)
  • Passionflash 2023 (where I tried my hand at hosting which was super fun!)

I am also a biomedicine student ambassador and talk to prospective students during university open days. I enjoy this role as I get to share my experiences at Salford and how it has become a crucial part of my life. Earlier last year, I got involved in IBMS Manchester Branch’s EDI event, where I had the opportunity to network and make key connections with professionals in the Biomedical Science field. At this event, I secured an interview for Issue 4 of the Bioscientist Magazine (for which I am currently co-Editor-in-Chief) with the IBMS Executive Head of Education, Dr Sue Jones.

I would recommend all students to attend events on offer from professional bodies and academics; you never know what you may achieve. I certainly did not predict all the doors that have opened up for me just by my show of proactivity.  

Sara Kassam and colleagues at event

Where is your favourite place to study on campus? 

I like studying in multiple places on campus as it keeps me on my toes. However, if I were to pick one spot out of them all, it would be the Clifford Whitworth Library. It has multiple facilities such as computer spaces, study rooms and quiet spaces to study. You can choose wherever you want to study and how you want to study to suit your needs. 

How do you spend your evenings, and when do you socialise? 

I usually spend my evenings switching off and relaxing to avoid burning out. I love watching series on streaming platforms such as Disney+ and Netflix to delve into another universe. I also spend time with my loving and supportive family, without whom life would be incomplete. When I can, I meet up with friends from high school and college on weekends. I also volunteer in the community as a teacher, which is truly rewarding.