Thanks for all the votes guys - hope you are happy with your winner :)
Liverpool BlueCoat School (1997-2004). University of Liverpool (2004-2007 & 2009-present)
GCSEs (3A*, 7A, 2B, 1C). A-levels (BBC). AS-levels (C). BSc Genetics (1st-class). PhD Pharmacology
W H Smith. Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Favourite thing to do in my job: Carrying out my lab work and experiments
My work involves blood and faeces of patients suffering from severe diarrhoea due to infection with the hospital superbug C. Diff
‘Superbug’ refers to pathogens (e.g. bacteria) that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. Patients infected with the hospital superbug Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) develop severe diarrhoea, with some people having to go the toilet 20 times in one day! This obviously isn’t much fun for these people!
My work involves looking at blood and faeces from these people with C. Diff and comparing it to people who don’t have the disease to see if we can identify any differences. For example, I try to identify genetic differences by extracting DNA from our patients’ blood and using the DNA in my experiments.
Any findings may then potentially help in the treatment/management of the disease
My Typical Day
No two days are the same, but they always involve lots of lab work and lots of chocolate (although not at the same time!)
Every day is different – that’s one good thing about it; some days will be mad busy with experiments and others are more relaxed planning and writing up what I’ve done – it’s a nice mix
I usually start the day by checking emails and replying to any important ones – usually from my boss!
I usually then head to lab and begin my experiment for that day – my most recent lab work involves measuring patient antibody levels to the toxin which causes the disease I work on (C. Diff). We would assume that a patient with severe disease will have less antibodies compared to a patient with milder disease.
This experiment takes around 7 hours but involves a lot of gaps – so I’d prepare my samples and add them into my ‘plates’ and then I have to leave them for 2 hours. Then I come back and add my next reagent and this incubates for 1 hour and so on. I usually use these gaps to plan other lab work, write up what I have done that day and have lunch!
I obtain my results for the day’s experiment late afternoon ~3-4pm (fingers crossed it works!). Based on the results I can then plan the next day’s work
Lab work generates results and it’s these results that have enabled me to travel to Munich, Germany and New York, USA to present my work at international conferences.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would give the money to the Liverpool World Museum to help them engage their younger visitors with science
The Liverpool World Museum first opened in 1853 and has been a major tourist attraction in the city ever since – growing up in Liverpool I visited many times. They already have a good focus on science with various workshops having taken place as well as numerous exhibitions, one of which included a cardboard cut-out of my boss! I would donate the prize to the World Museum in order for them to further engage their young visitors with science
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Hardworking, honest and sociable
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I have won prizes for my work at two separate conferences
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I wouldn’t say one particular person inspired me, I just enjoyed it at school and the fact I was good at it also helped!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
One or two detentions but nothing serious – I was a prefect so had to set a good example!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
An accountant – I’ve always been good with numbers
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love music – hard to choose between Lana Del Rey and Bloc Party
What's your favourite food?
Mexican (Burritos, Fajitas, Enchiladas, Tacos……….)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I appeared on the Channel 4 gameshow ‘Countdown’ in 2008
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To win the lottery 2. To be able to control the weather 3. To have a superpower (e.g. invisibility)
Tell us a joke.
Where do vampires go fishing? In the blood stream!