Natalie Brace

Why did you decide to study an MSc in Medical Engineering at the University of Leeds?

I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds so I was already aware of the credibility and success of the University and after deciding to do a masters degree, Leeds was top of my list. As a faculty, it is ranked as one of the highest in the UK for Mechanical Engineering, and I knew the teaching and research at Leeds is of the highest quality too.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University so far and why?

The best aspect for me is being part of a faculty that is actively making a difference in research. My professors are active researchers in the areas yous tudy and strong links with Leeds hospitals make a huge difference. I really enjoyed going to Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds to watch a hip and knee replacement surgery, something I didn't think I'd ever get to see.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

One project I really enjoyed involved working with another student to produce an acellular scaffold for a connective tissue to be used in the body for another purpose. It involved theoretically starting with a blood vessel and having to research how to remove the cells outs from it so it wouldn't cause an autoimmune response when placed back in the body. It also meant investigating the mechanical properties of the vessel and from this deciding what current health issue it could help.

My thesis project is also exciting as I am looking at ankle replacements and their failure mechanisms with regards to surface analysis. This is exciting as in terms of ankle replacements there isn't as much research as there is for hips and knees, therefore it involves problem solving and looking at the problem from different angles.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

As a city, Leeds is one of the best. There is everything you need here, from shops to bars, parks and museums, whatever you want to do Leeds or the surrounding area has it. The city centre is a 5 minute walk from the University and it is a safe city to be in. As a student I feel safe in the city centre in the day and in the evening, and there is always something going on.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambitions for the future revolve around making a difference in whatever job I am in. I want to be leading teams and leading research, and enjoy what I do every day.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

For me, as a university I think Leeds sets you up with all the necessary skills for your future career. It is a university that makes you work hard and makes you go and find the information you need, not spoon feed you. My experiences have meant I am comfortable working and communicating with a variety of people on a professional level; be that professors, researchers, or industrial professionals. My experience has taught me to work independently and in a team with confidence which is essential for my future career.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

Make the most of your time here. Use the expertise of the professors and supervisors that you have, ask all the questions and make good links as this is what will make the difference when you finish the course.