Dr Karen Lawson

Student spotlight details

Karen worked as a designer and computational modeller for a global company, and pursued our postgraduate courses in nanotechnology to explore nanomaterials from fundamental characterisation to commercialisation, which allowed her to create new concepts in design.

‘I was looking for a multidisciplinary course that covered the full range of activities in nanomaterials from fundamental characterisation to commercialisation. After exploring other courses and briefly working in Oxford, I found the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Nanotechnology. Although I had an undergraduate degree in physics, I needed to understand the basics of materials and go deeper into areas that could help with my product development goals.

'Later, after the pandemic, I wanted to look deeper into the potential opportunities that nanotechnology could provide in health care. I decided to apply for the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care, and I was specifically interested in how nanomaterials could enhance the performance of biomedical devices, which were critical during the pandemic.

'As the course required a substantive project and dissertation, I explored the nanomaterial enhancement of PPG sensors and was connected with an adviser in biomedical engineering. Although challenging, given my work schedule, the project helped me dive deeper into computational modelling and experimentation of nanomaterials. The collaboration and guidance from my advisor were instrumental in delivering accurate academic results.

'Initially, I was worried about doing high-quality research as a remote student, but the resources and access to tools were fantastic, and I used the library resources extensively online and in Oxford during the tutorial weeks. Completing my dissertation and seeing the study results was rewarding, and I was proud of the ideas coming to life in my work. I also immensely enjoyed attending lectures in Oxford and working with the programme leadership and team. The tutorials allowed me to meet other students from around the world, interact with world-class faculty members, and enjoy the beauty of Oxfordshire.

'My work has helped me join a new digital health startup in London that will use many of the learned experimental methods and tools to help build a new AI-enhanced platform for chronic condition management. I hope to continue my relationship with Oxford in this latest effort. I think the diversity of thought, quality, and attention to sound clinical translation will be very valuable.

'I encourage anyone interested in nanoscience or nanomedicine to consider applying for this course. It is thorough and challenging, but the learning and the outcomes are rewarding.'

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