“I’m learning a profession that’s interesting and rewarding”

Simon is in his second year of the MAHSE MSc in Clinical Bioinformatics, part of its Scientist Training Programme (STP). He has a paid placement at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine (MCGM) at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and attends The University of Manchester.

I was working in a genetics lab in Leeds when I found out about the MAHSE course. Colleagues at my Trust were completing STPs and it seemed like a great way to progress my career and the MAHSE website provided all the information I needed to make an informed choice. Bioinformatics really appeals to me because of the problem-solving aspect to it; it can be a really interesting challenge. It’s also a rapidly growing industry, so I feel confident that I’ll always be able to find work.

When I started the course, I knew a bit about genetics from my previous degrees in Animal and Plant Sciences and Molecular Evolution, but I didn’t know anything about the computational side of bioinformatics – all of that I’ve learned on the job. My colleagues at the MCGM taught me the practical side of the work, but I also attend lectures at The University of Manchester where they provide academic background and best practice. I have assignments and projects to deliver, but they’re linked to what I’m doing in the lab on a day-to-day basis which is what I really like about this course – that the practical and academic components are so closely linked. The trainees also have opportunities to work on innovation projects. I’m currently creating a new methodology for diagnosing patients with developmental delay. I graduate next year and I hope to stay on at MCGM.

I think Manchester is the best place to grow and develop as a bioinformatician. There’s been huge investment in the infrastructure here and I’m working alongside an expert team where there is a lot of collaboration; you just don’t get that in other parts of the UK.

MCGM hosts many research projects addressing important health issues, which makes the work even more interesting and rewarding.