Neston High School, Aston University, University of Birmingham
A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Psychology, BSc (Hons) Immunity and Infection, PhD
Aston University, Dubai English Speaking College, University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
University of Birmingham
Favourite thing to do in my job: Going out into the community and telling people all about my research, hopefully inspiring a few people along the way.
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 prize 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…
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Geeky, Chatty, Disorganised
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Hosted my own event at the Pint of Science festival…..science in the pub, what more could you want?!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
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!)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
All the time – I talk too much
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
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
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”