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People Like Me: Andrew

Updated Tuesday, 9th August 2005

Who studies science? We talk to students and graduates - and meet Andrew

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Great Barrier Reef Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Name: Andrew
Studying: M.Sc. Palaeobiology

Ultimate Ambition: Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Life at University
Life in Bristol met and exceeded my expectations. I have no background in geology, but this course covers a wide range of topics. It gives you the chance to do independent research on a topic of your choice. You spend a lot of time on subjects you may not be interested in, but they are important. I am looking forward to the research project – this was my main motivation for doing the course. Coming from Canada, I’m looking forward to trying Yorkshire Pudding, and the fish and chips here are great!

How I got here
I like palaeontology because it allows you to investigate not just the animal, but how it originated and changed. I did an undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Biology, and worked in a developmental biology lab, where I studied the development of the vertebrate skeleton and the jaws of the Atlantic Salmon. I discovered a new mode of jawbone growth that involves an intermediate tissue between bone and cartilage. I decided to look at bones from an evolutionary perspective – looking at fossils to see how skeletal elements and tissues have changed through evolution, and to understand the origin of new structures like jaws and teeth. I chose the University of Bristol because it has a strong reputation and a faculty with a wide range of interests.

Advice
It is important to get a strong background in biology and be prepared to spend a lot of time working. You are treated like a peer more than a student.

 

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