Imperial College London (2010-2011) University of Sheffield (2006-2010)
MRes in Biochemical Research and BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
BioPharm Drug Discovery, GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage
Final year PhD Student
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Imperial College London
Favourite thing to do in my job: Discovering something totally new that no one has ever found before!
I study how the different cells of your immune system are made by stem cells in your bone marrow
I am a final year PhD student at Imperial College in London, working in the department of Cellular and Molecular Biology. I study the stem cells that live in the bone marrow and develop into all the different types of white blood cell that make up your immune system. In particular, I am interested in how stem cells develop into a specific type of white blood cell called a Natural Killer cell. These cells are really interesting as they have the ability to search out and kill cancer cells and are part of your body’s natural defences against cancer.
With a better understanding of how Natural Killer cells develop we hope to find a way to influence the amount of Natural Killer cells that are made in your bone marrow. By producing lots of Natural Killer cells your immune system could be made to fight off your cancer on its own, rather than using traditional toxic drugs.
My Typical Day
A typical day for me would be spent in the lab looking after my stem cells, trying to make them become Natural Killer cells.
For me nearly every day working in the lab is different, as I love trying out new experiments! However, a typical day would normally begin with a coffee before I go to lab to look at my cells and see how well they are growing. My cells generally have to be fed every two or three days to keep them happy! Most of the experiments I do last more than one day, and some can take many weeks to finish, so each day I will normally spend time doing a little bit of each experiment that I’m running. When I am not in the lab I will spend time planning future experiments, analysing any results I have got and also writing down everything I have done in the lab on that day, because I will forget!
Each week I will also have a couple of meetings with my boss and with my team to discuss how our work is going and plan future experiments. Another important part of the week is trips to local coffee shop to pick up tasty snacks and all important coffee!
What I'd do with the prize money
I would like to go back to my own secondary school and run some exciting science workshops for current students
My old chemistry teacher Mr Bennett still works at my secondary school, so with his help I would really like to go back to my school and meet some of the current students and hopefully get them interested in science, especially stem cells! Using the money I would buy some new cool teaching aids for the school so they could run interactive, practical workshops that would let the students do some fun hands-on science. After all the best part of doing science is getting your hands dirty doing experiments!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, Organised, Chilled-out
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Presenting work at conferences is great fun
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My chemistry teachers Mr Bennett and Mr Robertson were really inspiring
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once or twice…a friend and I did get taken out of assembly once for singing too extravagantly!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Something to do with sport, I love cricket and football
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love so much music, but currently really enjoying the new Arctic Monkeys album
What's your favourite food?
Anything Italian! Pizza, Pasta, Yum!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Trekked through the jungles of Borneo
Tell us a joke.
What did one cell say to his sister cell when she stepped in his toe? Mitosis