03 December 2020

Maddie White

Maddie WhiteMaddie White undertook an intercalated degree before returning to complete her degree in Medicine at UEA.

Intercalated degrees are a common option for students studying a 5 year MB BS course.  It is an additional Master’s or Bachelor’s level programme that you can complete in a year away from your medical studies allowing you to study a particular area of interest in greater depth. Working on an intercalating degree can greatly enhance your student experience, is a great addition to your CV and can bring opportunities that support longer term career ambitions.  

Intercalating during the Covid-19 pandemic, Maddie undertook research which received national coverage.  Maddie outlines below what this experience was like and how it has shaped her future career path.

For my research, I systematically reviewed and meta-analysed studies researching whether blood biomarkers such as NT-proBNP, high sensitivity troponin and Galectin-3 are associated with mortality in patients with aortic stenosis. I also conducted an original retrospective cohort study looking at whether I could quantify novel imaging biomarkers of perivascular adipose tissue accurately on CMR using specialised a specialised software. I then researched whether the volume of perivascular adipose tissue associated with valve severity, blood biomarkers and mortality in those with aortic valve stenosis . 

“The main highlight of my intercalation degree was working as part of a wider research team, experiencing what research may be like in practice during a career in academic medicine and working on a paper that got published during lockdown.”

I chose UEA after attending the intercalation evening at UEA. I really liked the sound of the MRes (Masters of Research) and it sounded like a very supportive environment. I was already doing my undergraduate here so was familiar with the University and had already found people to live with. Also I love Norwich as a city so wanted to spend more time there.

I spoke to the intercalation lead a lot at the information evenings and asked if he had a space as I knew I would be very well supported. I would recommend establishing early on whether they will be able to spend an appropriate amount of time with you.

Postgraduate study is more independent than my undergraduate degree, which can be difficult to adapt to. You also may be in seminars with a group of people you don’t know very well and for me it was a lot less exam-based, and more coursework heavy, which I had to adapt to also.

I was lucky to have a lot of people from my undergraduate on my postgraduate course so there was a large community of medics there but it was also nice to get to know the medical students who had come from different universities and mix with those from different professions and age groups. 

It surprised me how much I enjoyed the dissertation writing part of the course and how useful I found the taught modules in qualitative and quantitative research methods, ethics and systematic reviews. 
I also had the opportunity to go to the UEA National Medical Research Conference and as part of the medical course we had lots of research modules which first sparked my interest in intercalation.
I would highly recommend UEA.  It’s a lovely community and it’s easy to be social as it’s a campus university. The postgrad bar is a great opportunity to meet new people. Norwich is a lovely city and with Norwich Research Park right next door to the campus there are amazing opportunities for research and great teaching!

So what’s next for Maddie?

“I have applied for the academic foundation programme in Bristol, Sheffield and Leeds to allow me to continue research into cardiology whilst working as a doctor. This will provide opportunities to apply for a clinical fellowship which will allow extensive opportunities for research. I would also like to be involved in teaching medical students to further enhance teaching skills which are necessary in a career in medicine and especially if I decide to pursue a career as an academic lecturer. “

More UEA stories

Read more on Maddie’s research

Effect of Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System inhibitors in patients with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 28,872 patients’ is published in the journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports on August 24, 2020.

Press Release: Blood pressure medication improves Covid-19 survival rates
Daily Mail article: Blood pressure drug cuts Covid death risk third

Watch Maddie talk about her cardiology project on YouTube