This course focuses on the development cycle of medicinal plants and functional foods. Your studies will range from identifying the plants in the field, to isolating the bioactive components in the laboratory and developing new medicines and nutritional foods.
On this truly interdisciplinary course you will draw on expertise from schools across the University, including biology, chemistry, history, law and medicine.
The course is comprised of compulsory and optional modules, giving you the opportunity to tailor your studies to your personal interests. Through the course you will develop knowledge, skills and understanding in areas such as: study and utilisation of medicinal plants and functional foods; data analysis of bioactive components and functional ingredients for incorporation into novel products; legal requirements of novel products containing bioactive and/or functional properties; isolation, identification and quantification of novel components with bioactive and/or functional properties; quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal plant and functional food products.
You will also undertake a major project, similar to one you might experience in the workplace. You will be supported through training in designing and delivering a project based on your interests that have developed during the course. After choosing your topic you will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis, reporting your investigation and results in a critical manner. Depending on the choice of topic, this may include designing and undertaking a research project in collaboration with a small or medium sized enterprise with an interest in medicinal plants and functional foods.
What undergraduate degree do you have and where did you study for it?
BSc Food Technology, University of Limerick, Ireland.
Why did you choose to study at Newcastle University?
It was the only course of its kind. Newcastle also seemed a friendly place, which it turned out to be.
What are the best aspects of your degree programme?
Learning the science behind the plants used in folk medicine and also the new uses of plants in medicine. Also the nutrition modules and getting to grips with new EU regulations.
What modules have you enjoyed most?
Traditional Use of Plants, Nutrition and Health, Biotechnology and Enterprise. Have there been any excursions / presentations that have been particularly beneficial / enjoyable?
Presentations from an ethno-botanist, who brought examples of plants, particularly cacti, explained their use in different cultures and research that he had carried out. I also enjoyed the trip to Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.
What are you doing your thesis about?
Working with a start-up company to choose herbal extracts for product formulas, looking at the science behind traditional use of certain medicinal plants and conduct cytotoxicity testing.
What do you hope to do after finishing your degree?
Continue on to do research, either as postgraduate or perhaps working with companies, similar to this project.
What is your favourite memory of your whole student experience so far?
Winning the Enterprise Challenge for my business plan!
Any other comments?
I find the staff at Newcastle University to be approachable and helpful.
The Careers Service has a great facility where they run loads of workshops and short courses to help everything from building skills to starting your own business.
A 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a science-based subject. Experience in a chemical or pharmaceutical laboratory or industry is desirable but not essential.If your first language is not English you need an overall IELTS score of 6.5.
Recipient: Newcastle University
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