Bárbara de Oliveira Meireles Vaz Guimarães
MSc Industrial Biotechnology
Bárbara is currently completing her MSc Industrial Biotechnology project placement with Xanthella in Oban.
I was attracted to the IBioIC MSc degree course since I come from a background in biology and I would like to get more involved in biotechnology and projects that have more applicability in the industry. I am very interested in sustainability and by undertaking this course I hoped to improve my understanding of integrative and more complex systems.
I'm thoroughly enjoying this unique and challenging course. The opportunity to attend courses at different universities across Scotland means we are tapping into the strengths of each university, developing a national network and experiencing the culture and ethos of different institutions.
I really enjoyed the Renewable Energy module that was taught in the University of Abertay and the Bioprocessing module, taught in Strathclyde University.
Presently I am completing my 12 week industry placement and that has been a great opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I acquired during the first nine months of the course. One of the great things about this placement experience is that it is being hosted in a small company and so I have been able to be involved in different aspects of the project and to learn about photobioreactors and LED systems in better detail.
My industrial supervisor, Ana dos Santos Vejrazka, has given me a lot of freedom as to design my experiments and stimulated my creativity and problem solving skills. I have been able to attend meetings with the scientific advisors of the project I was involved in. This gave a much better understanding of the impact of my work and improved my confidence.
During a typical placement day I am responsible for checking the master algae cultures, checking the photobioreactors and the air flow systems, collecting samples, recording cell growth by performing cell counts and recording and analysing experimental data.
Looking to the weeks ahead my next major milestone is writing my MSc thesis and presenting my research findings to my supervisors and colleagues. This will be another demanding period but already this MSc course has enhanced my career prospects since I have been offered and have accepted a job offer at the company I am currently working in.
I will be employed as an algal technician and will be working with photobioreactors and their interesting and innovative LED tile systems. I would truly like to thank Douglas McKenzie (CEO, Xanthella) for such a great opportunity in his company."