Hannah Greenwood

Favourite Thing: Going out into the community and telling people all about my research, hopefully inspiring a few people along the way.



Neston High School, Aston University, University of Birmingham


A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Psychology, BSc (Hons) Immunity and Infection, PhD

Work History:

Aston University, Dubai English Speaking College, University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Current Job:

Post-Doctoral Scientist


University of Birmingham

Me and my work

Helping our white blood cells get better at fighting bacteria as we age

As a scientist, I’m interested in how well (or badly) our immune system copes when we get pneumonia (a bacterial infection of the lungs) as we get older. For this project, I take blood from pneumonia patients  in the hospital (my friends call me a vampire because I do this a lot!) and isolate their neutrophils, a type of white blood cell who’s job is to eat and destroy bacteria.  I then measure how well these neutrophils can do their job and try to find ways to help them do it better. As we get older, we’ve (my team and I) noticed that these neutrophils get very confused and can’t do their job properly, so if I can help our neutrophils seek and destroy bacteria better, then we might not get ill as much, or as seriously, when we get older.

My Typical Day

Spending lots of time staring down a microscope looking at wiggling neutrophils

I take blood in the morning, measure neutrophil function in the afternoon (this is where the microscope comes in) and eat lots of cake in between. Seriously, LOTS of cake, we have a cake rota in my office and everything so that we never run out! I then have to go the gym to work off all that cake (this bits not so much fun!).

Occasionally I get to go to conferences to chat with other scientists about my work. One year I went to Texas, USA and saw some real life cowboys and ate the best burgers of my life, it was amazing and all in the name of science!

What I'd do with the money

Work with the British Science Association to get more children and young adults involved in Science

I’d use the money to organise demonstrations and workshops in different schools around the country to get more students interested in science. You never know, I could come and visit you at your school…

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Geeky, Chatty, Disorganised

Who is your favourite singer or band?

James Bay, Taylor Swift, George Ezra, Ed Sheeran

What's your favourite food?

Cake (and lots of it!)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Hiked for 4 days in Peru to watch the sun rise over Macchu Picchu

What did you want to be after you left school?

A fighter pilot in the RAF

Were you ever in trouble at school?

All the time – I talk too much

What was your favourite subject at school?

Science, specifically Biology, I never understood Physics.

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

Hosted my own event at the Pint of Science festival… in the pub, what more could you want?!

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My Dad. He always taught us to as think outside the box, to be inquisitive and never stop asking questions (although at times, I think he may have regretted that last one!)

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


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

1) Win the lottery, 2) Travel the world, 3) Live and work in New York

Tell us a joke.

A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a beer. The bartender replies “for you, no charge”

Other stuff

Work photos: