Jennifer Thorley

thorley-jenniferBSc Biochemistry (graduated 2009)

“ Studying biochemistry gave me a broad understanding of a range of biological subjects, which has been invaluable in my jobs at Nature and The Lancet.”

What I have been doing since graduation

I am currently Senior Editor for the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. After graduating from the School of Biosciences, I went on to do a PhD in hepatitis C virology and cell biology, working between the Medical School and School of Biosciences at Birmingham. After completing my PhD, I moved to London to work in scientific publishing, first as a Copy Editor at Nature Publishing Group and then as an Assistant Editor at The Lancet. I recently became Senior Editor for The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, a new journal launching this year.

How my course benefited me

I studied biochemistry at Birmingham. Studying biochemistry gave me a broad understanding of a range of biological subjects, which has been invaluable in my jobs at Nature and The Lancet.

My first year in Birmingham

I enjoyed living away from home for the first time, living with friends, and having more responsibility. First year is about having lots of new experiences and settling in to university life. It feels like a long time ago now, but I think it was a lot less daunting than I expected—everyone was going through the same thing and we were all keen to make friends and support each other.

How going to University benefitted me

I wouldn’t have been able to follow the career path I have without going to University. Not only has my degree been invaluable to my career as an editor, but University is also where I met a lot of my friends, made some of my happiest memories, and learnt to balance work and social life.

Campus life

The Campus at Birmingham is a wonderful community to be a part of, and probably the most picturesque part of Birmingham. I always remember everyone sitting outside the library on the grass in the summer term revising, and building snowmen there in the winter term. There is always something happening on campus and so many societies to get involved with, and there is easy access to the city centre via the University train station, so you get the best of both worlds!

Living in Birmingham

Birmingham was a great community, and you bump into people you know everywhere you go. It was a very supportive place to be student—with flat mates, course mates, and friends from societies, there was always someone to go to.

Student societies I took part in

I tried out a lot of different societies in my first year at Birmingham, but the one I became most involved with was the student radio station, Burn FM. I got some useful experience of working in the media, got to interview some of my favourite bands, and made friends studying lots of different subjects—many of whom I’m still good friends with today. BioSoc also organized a lot of fun events for biosciences students such as pub quizzes and bowling with the lecturers.

My future aspirations

I love working in scientific publishing and am excited to be working on a new journal, so I will be focusing on that for the foreseeable future!

My top tip

Birmingham University is a great place to be an undergraduate, with lots of opportunities to gain new skills or experiences while getting a great education. My best advice would be to take as many of these opportunities as possible—3 years goes quickly, so make the most of it!