Peter Elliott

I still cannot believe I won. A huge thank you to all the students who voted for me I will try and get into your schools for sure

Favourite Thing: Design new experiments to provide data which can be used to improve our current understanding and knowledge of the world around us, both big and small.



University of Manchester (2009-2013), University of York (2005-2009), Culford school (Bury St Edmunds)


PhD in Biochemistry and microbiology, BSc Biochemistry and Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Maths A levels

Work History:

University of Manchester, Global vision international, Royal botanical gardens, Kew London

Current Job:

Freelance biochemist


Me and my work

I am a postgraduate reseacher and work on bugs and proteins

At the moment I work at a number of establishments as required in a freelance role. Depending on the people I am working for I can be looking at different aspects of protein chemistry or checking for different kinds of bacteria growing in different environments. One of my most recent assignments was actually in South Africa where I was conducting animal research along with educating school children.

I enjoy the freedom this role gives me and allows me to use a variety of techniques that I have learnt over the years and apply them to situations that can be useful to companies making medicines for our use.

My Typical Day

Varied, with a wide range of activities to keep me busy during the day

Depending on where I am working, I can be in the lab with my lab coat on performing routine experiments that act as a standards for a company to test their products or their cleanliness. Or I could be in a more research setting where I get to work and their are no guidelines to follow and I have to make them and accurately record them in case any one wanted to repeat what I did.

If I am not in the lab then I am working away on the computer outside. This could be emailing people my results or setting up meetings to discuss with them how the work is going. Some areas of science other people have worked on and if you are clever enough you can find their work and read what they did. If you are cleverer still you can use the methods they used and apply them to the work you are doing. This can save a lot of time, which stops me banging my head on the table and also saves a lot of time and money for the company. On the computer I also use a lot of programs like excel and word to present my work in an easy to understand approach, with the aim to let people with very little scientific understanding know what I am doing and why it is important. myimage5 myimage6


The time I spend at work can also be highly variable. If I am growing bugs then my work can be done in a few hours, depending on how many samples there are to analyse. Sometimes I have to work on weekends if there is a deadline approaching and the data needs to be collected.

What I'd do with the money

Go to local schools to improve handwashing techniques

The average number of bugs on a human is 1 trillion. Whilst most of these are harmless and even beneficial there are a small number that are harmful to us. One way of protecting ourselves is to ensure we wash our hands properly. Take a look at my colleague (Dr J Butler’s dirty hands) myimage3 Over several years I have gone into schools and museums in Manchester to teach school children the importance of proper handwashing to keep us all safe and healthy. With the money I would be able to get to more schools to teach the same handwashing technique that doctors and nurses use. I also run a creative element to the visit and encourage children to make their own bugs to take home with them. myimage2

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Persistant, patient and creative

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Calvin Harris

What's your favourite food?

A good hot curry

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Skydiving over Capetown

What did you want to be after you left school?

Research scientist

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not according to my school record

What was your favourite subject at school?


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

Scientific engagement

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My first science teacher, Mr Thomas

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

RAF pilot

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

To have my own yacht. Be in a position to be able to do what ever made me happy, regardless of cost. Play for England in the rugby world cup final

Tell us a joke.

A neutron walks in the bar and orders a drink. “How much barman” he asks. The barman replies, “for you no charge!”

Other stuff

Work photos:

myimage7 myimage3 myimage8 myimage9 myimage10