Saffron Whitehead

Favourite Thing: Run a well designed experiment to test a hypothesis and to find out that your hypothesis is correct



Eastbourne High School, University College London (1965-1970) McMaster University, Canada (1970-1974)


BSc, PhD

Work History:

Chelsea College of Science and Technology, St George’s University of London

Current Job:

Emeritus Professor


Part-time at St George’s University of London, mainly now examining students

Me and my work

Teaching medical students about hormones, doing experiments and writing papers and books on endocrinology

Teaching is the most rewarding part of my work especially when I give a good lecture that has really engaged the students. They then ask the most challenging questions so then I know they have enjoyed and learned from what I have told them. I also love writing and have written many scientific papers and review articles and have also written three text books during my career. My current research is concerned with chemicals in plants and human health.

My Typical Day

I am retired now but I am still writing papers and reviews and giving talks to scientists and pupils still at school

Now I am no longer constrained to working hours every day is varied although this includes my scientific endeavours and engaging in the media.  I am currently chair of the Public Engagements Committee of the Endocrine Society and that takes up some time. I also do some free-lance journalism and am a school governor at a local deaf school.

What I'd do with the money

In conjunction with the Society for Endocrinology I would set up a series of talks in schools about hormones, chemicals and the environment

We need to encourage students to become interested in all branches of science and hopefully it may stimulate them to pursue a career in science or  some form of health care. I feel education should be open to all and so I would target schools living in the more deprived areas of the country. The money I might receive would go towards travelling expenes and printed leaflets about careers in science and health to be distributed to pupils in schools.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Youthful, energetic, hard-woking

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Bob Dylan

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Travelling, notably to India, Madagascar and Africa

What did you want to be after you left school?

A nurse

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Always – I was a rebel

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Research into plant chemicals, teach and write books

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I became a laboratory technician in the United States and decided to return to the UK and go to University.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A journalist

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Write a best-seller novel, become a top-rated tennis player, stay healthy

Tell us a joke.

No, never remember the crunch line!

Other stuff

Work photos: