Favourite Thing: Get in the lab and find out something new that no one else knows in the world until I tell them.
Torc High School Tamworth, Nottingham Trent Uni, University of Birmingham & State University of New York
A few GCSE’s, a handful of A-levels, BSc, MSc and PhD. Generally speaking I got better as I went on!
3M Health Care as a scientist (not long after I finished my first degree -I hated it (!) )There was no freedom to study the things I liked, I was paid to look at what they told me to to look at. They’d always choose boring things.
Science research- finding out new things in the lab- I love it :-)
University of Birmingham and my boss Gareth (he’s ok!)
Me and my work
Essentially, I research how to keep our muscles 25 years old when the rest of our body is 65.
I love science and the freedom it brings. I can look at whatever interests me (as long as it is linked to making people better) and then I have to convince funders that they want to give me a job to look at it on a much deeper level.
I was never that good at school and science just happened to be the thing I could get on with, I went to university (not that I really knew what it was, as I went to a school where people didn’t often end up going to uni). But someone suggested I could go and I might like it so I did and it was amazing.
After that I went travelling (taking lots of loans!£££) and then came home and got a job in industry which paid well but i didn’t enjoy it so went back to study (Masters and PhD). As part of my PhD I lived in New York for 2 years which was amazing fun and an experience that often appears in science. Every city has a university and ever university needs scientists so you could choose to live anywhere in the world …… I choose Birmingham :-\
I’m part of a lab group that work on ageing and metabolism (or the way our body uses energy). There are normally 5 of us but then we have project students visiting us all of the time. My normal day is me in the lab messing around. I normally come up with the idea of experiments in collaboration with my boss and then I also tend to do extra ones on things I’m also interested in (when he’s not looking!).
My Typical Day
Tea, Lab, Tea, Run, Tea, Lab, Lab.
Soooo addicted to caffeine. Tea/coffee otherwise I get a headache 🙁
Arrange my day whilst I drink tea and then go in the lab and work on experiments. Using cells and look at what the proteins in the cells are doing and how the cell behaves when certain proteins are present in high or lower numbers.
Lunch time is run time…. I go running with a friend then get back and eat my lunch (quickly).
Sometimes there are other scientists visiting us from around the world and they give presentations on their work so its often interesting to see what they are doing. Its also a good way of comparing your own work with them.
Meetings happen about twice a week – i don’t like them, they can be dull.
Back in the lab to carry on with experiments and preparing/planning new ones. Usually go out for a coffee and a chat with a friend for a break.
Science never really goes away, If I had a job in Tesco I guess I could go home and not worry about it until the next day. But science is always on my mind, so often if tv is no good I’ll get my laptop out and do some of the smaller easier jobs before bed.
What I'd do with the money
I don’t know…. maybe you can help me with that…..
Money….who cares right ? If stuff was free then everything would be fine, i could just go and use whatever I needed.
Science equipment is stupidly expensive, and not even the fancy looking stuff.
Small bits of plastic, chemicals and even gloves are things that we have to spend money before we can even start the interesting things.
So I think it might be better to spend the money in a way that gets younger people connected with how a job in science work. So I think I would use the money to
make some flying monkeys the travel around the world telling people about science ! Actually, that will never work as I don’t know how to train monkeys to talk. But what I can do is invite students from schools locally who are interested in science and bring them along to my lab and use the money to set up some cool experiments for them to do.
May experiments where the get their own DNA and compare it to each others, show them what cells and proteins look like – things like that. I can make it into a video and put it on youtube so others can see #epicsciencefails!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
It changes I like lots of stuff from blues to swedish electric but I always like The Smiths (80’s).
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Lots of things – but I’m addicted to running (I do 1 marathon a year)…. the training keeps me happy
What did you want to be after you left school?
Not in a job – I only went to Uni because it meant I didn’t need to get a job! As it turns out it was probably the best decision I ever made.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Often -Too cheeky & can’t keep my mouth shut. This got me into trouble with both teachers and bullies.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Sports – Science was second favourite (but more importantly I hated R.E. which probably showed I could be a scientist).
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I lived in upstate New York as part of my Phd – that was great. But the best….I haven’t done it yet. When (if) I get to be the boss of my own group… that will be the best thing.
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
hhhhhmmmm…. Doc from Back to the Future and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters. Looked cool, not like a job but like an adventure!
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Probably working in Tesco – I’m no good at anything else!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
umm….. 1. Stay healthy as I get old. 2. Happy family 3. Under 3 hour marathon time!
Tell us a joke.
Why are pirates called pirates ? Because they arghhhh.
Ok here are some photos of my workplace!
My desk- Its a mess but this is how it works ; papers I need to read go in the two piles on the left 🙁
Food & Drinks go behind the keyboard and wrappers get thrown away every week or two weeks. If you look carefully theres a jar of marmite that I opened a couple of years ago then closed. Every so often we like to have a competition to see if anyone can open it. NOBODY can open this jar anymore, its too tightly sealed with marmite…. this is bad news because i like it.
Computer and current work are infront of the keyboard…. if by accident the go behind the keyboard its not often I see them again !
My lab – This is my lab its nice, i like it here. lots of bottles of things on the shelves and lots of space to do experiments !
A picture of me in the lab just to prove it is my lab ! – it came out sideways I have no idea why but I can’t fix it either !!