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Dan Lu - Natural Sciences (Biological)

Dan Lu studied Natural Sciences (Biological) 2007-2011, and is now studying for a PhD in Biochemistry.

'I’ll be honest; coming here was a dream for me. With so many Nobel Prize winners in the sciences alone, and that’s not even including people like Newton and Darwin, the University of Cambridge is clearly a leading scientific institute. In my opinion, a huge part of this success comes down to the teaching and layout of the Natural Science course. Some of the biggest discoveries are made at disciplinary boundaries and in this course, students can take full advantage of this by combining up to 4 subjects in early years (in my case: Cells, Chemistry, Maths, Physiology) to increase the breadth of knowledge then specializing in the 3rd year (in my case: Biochemistry) to enhance the depth of understanding in a specific field. Not only this, students have the chance to engage in discussions such as supervisions and projects with experts in the field to learn new ideas that will help students become better thinkers of tomorrow, and not just in science but in industry, politics and beyond.

Even though I lived in the UK, I was accepted as an overseas student, however the generosity of St John’s with their bursary scheme was amazing and really did make my life easier, for which I am extremely grateful. Coming from a Comprehensive school in Wales, I knew very little about the so-called ‘Oxbridge stereotype’, and had no idea of the differences between colleges. I chose St John’s simply because I thought it was the most stunning looking college. Having studied here now makes me realise two things, and that first, I’m pretty certain you will love any college you choose because that is your home. And second, the only ‘stereotype’ I can think of is that all the students are clever and have a strong enthusiasm for the subjects they study. Everyone is unique and incredible in their own ways. Sure, some may play ten instruments, some may have travelled the world, but some are also like me, and some will be like you. The greatest gift I’ll cherish from my time at Cambridge undoubtedly will be the friends I’ve made along the way.

I’ve enjoyed my time here at St John’s immensely, having been captain of various College sport teams, and even president of a University society. The academic work has been challenging at times, but you will have time to enjoy other social activities.

Now I’m doing a PhD in Cancer Research and I have a new dream; to cure this disease however challenging and unlikely that may seem. But even in the most frustrating times in my life and work, I know I can always look back and smile, at all the memories St John’s and Cambridge has given to me.'

- Dan Lu, February 2013