School of Food Science and Nutrition

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Heidi Lai

Research student

Where are you from and what are you studying?
I was born in Hong Kong and I’ve studied in Singapore, Shanghai and the UK. I’m currently studying for a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition. My research area is biochemistry (flavonoids), nutrition and epidemiology. I’ve also just graduated from BSc Food Studies and Nutrition in June 2011.

Can you briefly describe the area you are researching?
I am currently looking at building polyphenol profiles for processed foods in the UK market, but this is only part of my training. In the future, I might be looking at the relationship between flavonoids and epidemiology using a cohort study performed in the UK.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?
I chose Leeds University because the School of Food Science and Nutrition had the highest consecutive 5* research quality for many years. The atmosphere of the University was also quite warm and welcoming. The University Union also makes a lot of effort to provide for the students and that is something that is really attractive for a prospective student and current students alike.

What made you choose a research degree?
I’ve always had a passion for research, originality and challenges, and I believed that the University of Leeds had the environment I could excel in. It is an opportunity not just to do well in your own research area, but it can also broaden your knowledge in countless ways, from general skills and knowledge to specific details in a piece of research.

What is it that makes you passionate about the subject you study?
The challenges it provides; the continuous search for a solution and the end result is the motivation that is more than enough to fuel my passion for food science and nutrition. I also benefit from the knowledge that my research could someday benefit others in society too, and this keeps me going.

How would you describe student life for students at Leeds?

Leeds offers a large variety of activities all year, as it is a student based city, you never run out of things to do. Whether you are a quiet type, or the type who likes to go out a lot, you’ll always find something to satisfy your needs. The transport and services are also very convenient, which makes everything more enjoyable.

What do you like best about your School?
I like how it’s quite small and compact; this means that everyone will get to know each other quite well, regardless of their different research areas, which means that through discussions and lunch time chats, you can gain knowledge outside of your research area too. The administrative staff are also very friendly and helpful as are the academic staff. They are also very supportive in times of need.

What university social/sporting activities have/did you become involved in during your spare time?
I’ve been to the archery club, dancesport society and Singaporean Society, all of which were very enjoyable. Outside of University, I attend and play piano, guitar in church events and participate in student groups.

What would you say to other students thinking of coming to Leeds University?
I’ll tell them it’s an excellent place to study in, and that they will enjoy it more than they think they will!