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Daniel K West

Quantitative Analyst

I completed my Physics BSc in Leeds at the end of 2001 and moved to Farnborough to take up a position at QinetiQ. As a QinetiQ scientist I was part of the Future Systems Technology Division, which involved working on classified projects for the Ministry of Defence. My degree provided me with the set of core skills I needed to work at the cutting edge of new technologies for both military and civilian projects.

In October 2002 I had the privilege to come back to Leeds and start a 4-year PhD Programme on the "Molecular Basis of Biological Mechanisms" funded by the Wellcome Trust and taught and administered within the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. Having always had a great interest in Biophysics this was the perfect topic for my PhD, involving both Biochemists and Physicists from completely different environments. Though I was mainly based in the Polymer and Complex Fluids Group conducting molecular dynamics simulations of biopolymers, I also undertook rotations designing and building protein concatamers, then pulling them apart on the atomic force microscope to measure their mechanical properties.

Upon finishing my PhD I took my current position at HSBC investment bank in London. At first this may seem unrelated to my previous work, however the skills that I honed during my PhD have proved invaluable in my current role as a Quantitative Analyst (a "Quant" designs and implements mathematical models for the pricing of derivatives and the assessment of risk). I have worked on a wide range of asset classes, currently residing within Foreign Exchange (FX). On a day-to-day basis I apply stochastic calculus and advanced C++ coding techniques to solve derivative related problems. The cross-disciplinary nature of my PhD has proved invaluable to me when communicating to a wide range of colleagues including traders, risk managers, and product control.