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PhD student Daisy Bown looking at a grass plant in a lab

My undergraduate study sparked a passion that led to my PhD

Published: 20 October 2023

Daisy Bown's passion for research started with her BSc Biology, where she learnt how plants respond to their environment during her favourite module.

Why I chose to study at Southampton

I chose Southampton because of the excellent facilities, including sophisticated laboratories and plenty of study areas. I like the feel the campus has, it’s spacious and green but town is easily accessible. 

The Southampton biology course offers a broad range of topics to choose from. This gave me flexibility to tailor my degree to my developing interests. I liked the fact that you’re assigned a tutor who is one of your lecturers. This gives you an opportunity to make connections as well as develop some of your soft skills including essay and CV writing. 

The plant biology lectures were always my favourite topic early on in my course.  During the plant development and function module I learnt how plants grow and develop in response to their environment. 

This module sparked my interest in plant molecular biology, so I wanted to get some work experience in a research laboratory that specialises in this topic. I helped a PhD student with their project and learnt so many lab skills as well as specific knowledge. It helped me understand what research really entailed. 

The practicals helped me learn the basics of lab skills which provided me with a solid foundation as I stayed here to pursue my master’s and PhD. 

PhD student Daisy Bown

I also attended a plant science summer school where I was fortunate to meet other students from across the country and attend fascinating talks and workshops. 

For my third-year project, I picked a project in plant biology. I loved working in the glasshouse for this project, as well as in the teaching labs. We could see a physical differences in plants and were working out the molecular basis that underpins these differences. 

To get a better idea of whether I wanted to do a PhD, I chose to do an MRes in Advanced Biological Sciences. I chose this course because it has a greater weighting on your laboratory project, and fewer modules. This meant I could spend more time in the lab, which is where I like to be. This course really allowed me to feel like I was an independent researcher. 

Following my MRes, the opportunity to pursue a PhD at Southampton came up. I now work in the very same laboratory I worked at all those years ago doing work experience, and I am proud of how far I have come and am excited about how much there is still to be discovered in my field of research.

I am glad I made the most of the opportunities offered at Southampton. in addition to the excellent facilities, I was able to take advantage of work experience and a summer school which enhanced my confidence and knowledge.

PhD student Daisy Bown

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