Favourite Thing: Looking at human cells and viruses under a microscope
The University of Edinburgh(2009-2013), The University of Glasgow (2008-2009), Bangalore University, India (2005-2008)
PhD (Infectious Diseases), Master of Research (MRes, Biomedical Science), Batchelor of Science (BSc)
Research Manager, HPV Research Group
The University of Edinburgh
Me and my work
I study how a virus called HPV lives in our body and causes cancer.
One part of my work deals with looking at DNA and proteins of this nasty virus called Human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes warts and cancers. I look to see if i can get clues from their DNA to see why and how they cause disease in humans. I play around by putting bits of their DNA into human cells that are growing in a dish in the lab and see what they do to the cells. By understanding how they act within our cells, we can see if we can make medicines that can stop their activity!
This is what the virus looks like
Another part of my work deals with looking at how the vaccination against HPV is having an impact in Scotland. Some of you might know that girls are vaccinated against HPV in school. I look to see if that is causing a reduction in number of people being infected with these viruses.
A third part of what I do is to develop new ways of detecting the virus to see if people are infected with HPV or not.
My Typical Day
I dont have a typical day but spend a lot of time trying to think like a virus!
As a scientist, my typical day is spent doing lots of little things such as taking care of the cells we grow in our lab, playing around with the viral DNA or some big experiments that take all day long and even overnight!
Take a look at the lab i work in
Also, this is where my cells live
And this is what they look like under the microscope
We use lots of machines in our lab. For example, check out our cool spaceship like PCR Machine
I also spend a lot of time discussing new ideas with my team, planning the right kind of experiments and doing lots of reading about what other scientists are doing.
But basically, i try to have fun doing science!!!
What I'd do with the money
I will donate it to a science communication project in Malawi!
One of the projects our research group is involved with is looking to reduce the number of women having cervical cancer in Malawi. In order to do this properly, it is important to spread the message about why detection of this cancer early is important and what people can do to prevent getting this disease. If i win this prize, i would like to donate the money to a team who are involved in spreading the message about awareness to women in Malawi.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Independent, considerate, hardworking
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I don’t have a favourite singer but love listening to lots of different music.
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Climbed up Ben Nevis
What did you want to be after you left school?
I have always wanted to be a scientist!
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Presented my research in front of over 1000 people
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
An event manager
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To tap my feet and reach where ever i want to be in seconds, to travel the world, to cure cancer
Tell us a joke.
Biology is the only science where multiply and divide mean the same thing!