Claire Colenutt

Claire Colenutt, Biological Sciences, BSc

Claire researches viral livestock diseases at The Pirbright Institute.

Mostly because it was sunny on the open day and the whole place looked too good not to!

On a more serious note, I came to visit the university and I had a great experience. The students showing me around were very genuine in their recommendation of Exeter as a place to live and study. Staff that I met were also very engaging and keen to speak to prospective students regarding any of their questions. The university itself has a beautiful campus with plenty going on. The course I applied for was interesting as well as being flexible if I wanted to take it in different directions further down the line. All of these things put together made it an easy choice.

There was always plenty to do - my degree was great and kept me busy but everything I did alongside it and all the people I met made my experience pretty amazing.

After completing a research project in my third year I was interested in finding something to do that would let me carry on with lab work and research. My supervisor recommended looking for PhD positions, so I applied for several projects, with the end result of a PhD position at Royal Holloway, University of London. My PhD was in microbiology, working with a specific gut pathogen and studying the application of probiotics in treatments. Having completed my PhD, I am now working at The Pirbright Institute, which focuses on research into viral livestock diseases.

I love lab work. Anytime something works after being particularly tricky is a good day!

A big part of being a scientist is the ability to communicate in order to both share and discuss your work. A big bonus of the job is attending conferences and meetings, which often happen to be organised in some pretty nice places!

My degree relates directly to my career, which is great. But it is not just my degree that helped me get there. All the experiences I had and friends I made at Exeter gave me the confidence to pursue what I wanted to do.

Work hard! Take any opportunities that are offered to you - the little extra things you learn along the way will be so worth it in the end!

I am aiming to stay in research, there are plenty of challenges still out there to keep me busy!

Take opportunities available to you and make the most of them. Meet people. Often things can happen when you least expect them to, so don't overlook or dismiss a potential stepping stone to where you want to go!