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Student story

Caleb McNaughton

20 July 2023

"Biochemistry plays a large role in modern technological development..."


Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

Studying Biochemistry at UC has motivated Caleb towards a career in pharmaceutical design and development, to help improve quality of life.

"UC has one of the best Schools of Biology in the country and combined with the location and my degree choice, it just made sense," he says. "The environment is very welcoming and provides a great space for study and focus. The lecturers are knowledgeable and approachable, making for an enjoyable educational experience."

With an avid passion for biological sciences, Caleb found he had a particular interest in Biochemistry, as the study of life at the cellular level.

"Metabolism, gene expression, and the chemistry of living organisms – plant, microbial, and mammalian – give huge insights into our history as a species. Modern applications of the field include discoveries of cellular mechanisms to aid in medicinal and agricultural development, from safer pesticides, to drug development, and gene therapy. Biochemistry plays a large role in modern technological development. 

"I love seeing the inner mechanisms of life and how they interact at the molecular level. The idea that we are all made from the same tiny building blocks that together form something as complex as a human is fascinating," he says. 

At UC, Caleb has the opportunity to conduct practical work in Biochemistry. He recalls one particularly memorable application of E.coli through gene therapy to study bacterial infection.

"Studying metabolism helps us understand what foods are the most beneficial and which can be harmful based of the products they form as your cells break them down. Seeing the theory and practice in union is very rewarding.

"Long term I would like to be involved in drug design and synthesis in the hopes of furthering human life and quality of life."  

Caleb has also been able to share his fascination with the UC community, as the President of the Biological Society in 2019. 

"BioSoc is an academic club with a focus on first year tutorials for up and coming biologists. The club also hosts social events throughout the year, both as an individual club and in collaboration with other clubs. It’s a great space to meet with likeminded individuals." 

His advice to future Biochemistry students is to pursue their passions first and foremost throughout their Science degree.

"A genuine enjoyment of science and a curious mind is essential," he says. "If you aren't sure if a degree in Biochemistry is right for you, there is plenty of flexibility in your first year in terms of degree planning so you can test the waters. Don’t be afraid of taking risks."

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