Why Catz?

  • We have a thriving Biochemistry group which, at any one time, usually consists of about 16 undergraduates (usually 4 per year group).
  • St Catherine’s College is one of the closest colleges to the Department of Biochemistry (approx. 10 minutes’ walk).
  • Professor Penny Handford organises tutorial teaching for the Biochemistry students and teaches on a range of topics during the first three years of the course.  She is supported by a Stipendiary lecturer in Quantitative Biochemistry and a Class A lecturer in Organic Chemistry. Teaching expertise is exchanged between colleges and sourced from within the Department to ensure that students are taught by experts who are actively researching a particular field.
  • We are particularly proud of the results of Catz biochemists in recent years. Since 2004, all our students have achieved an upper second class degree or above, with 44% of students obtaining a first class degree. Cross talk and feedback is encouraged between year groups, which improves study skills and helps inform tutorial choice.
  • Approx. 50% of our students usually go on to study for a DPhil/PhD, other typical destinations of our students are clinical biochemistry, biotechnology, accountancy, teaching. These alumni form a supportive invaluable network for Catz biochemists to provide advice and guidance on career choice.
  • The College Library holds an up-to-date collection of textbooks to support the course. Students are welcome to suggest additions to the collection.
  • Social events include welcome drinks and a meal, a faculty dinner, and research project presentation evenings by 4th year students.
  • Biochemistry students at Catz are involved in many different societies and sports clubs, which currently include table football, pool, drama, orchestra, rowing and netball.

Picture at top of page: St Catherine's Biochemistry students and tutors celebrating the end of exams!

Picture below: 1st year biochemist Hannah with Penny Handford and college lecturer Marta Brambilla at Catz Night dinner 2014.

Picture below: 1st year biochemists Anna, Miguel, Amelia and Paul at Catz Night dinner 2014.

Picture below: Dr Jen Walker and Dr Andy Armitage (matriculated 1999) recently met up for lunch in Catz with Penny Handford, when Jen came to give a research talk . They were the first intake of students that Penny admitted to study Biochemistry at St Catz.  Both are immunologists, with Jen working in MRC Lab of Molecular Biology, Cambridge and Andy at the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, Oxford. They decided a “selfie” was needed to record the occasion.

Picture below: Prof Penny Handford and Charlotte Heads meeting up at the Biochemistry Cafe. Charlotte Heads studied Biochemistry at Catz 2007-2011. After leaving Oxford Charlotte spent a year at a pharmaceutical market research and consultancy company and is currently a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young, working in the Advisory practice with a focus on Life Sciences.

Number of places usually available at St Catherine's: 4

What's so special about studying Biochemistry at St Catherine's College? Click here to find out from one of our current students.

Associated Staff

BSc, PhD S'ton, MA Oxf
Wolfson Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry
Professor of Biochemistry
BSc Edin, PhD Leics
College Lecturer in Biochemistry
MChem Oxf
College Lecturer in Biochemistry