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
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
University of Manchester, Global vision international, Royal botanical gardens, Kew London
Favourite thing to do in my job: 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.
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.
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 prize 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) 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.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Persistant, patient and creative
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My first science teacher, Mr Thomas
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not according to my school record
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
A good hot curry
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Skydiving over Capetown
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!”