1998-1993: St Margaret Ward High School, Stoke-on-Trent. 1993-1995: St Margaret Ward Sixth Form, Stoke-on-Trent. 1995-1998: School of Life Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire 1998-2002: School of Biological Sciences, The University of Manchester.
GCSE: Science, Maths, Geography, English, Music, Art Religious Education. A-Levels: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and General Studies. Degree: First Class Honours Degree: Biology and Biochemistry with subsidiary in Psychology PhD: Neuroscience: Circadian and photoperiodic modulation of circadian rhythms in the Syrian hamster
1989-1993 Newspaper Round. 1993-1998 WH Smiths. Weekend Assistant. 1995-1998 Teaching assistant for Kumon Mathematics. 1998-2002 Scientific Demonstrator for Undergraduate Practical Classes, University of Manchester. 2000-2002 Residential Tutor, St Gabriel’s Hall, University of Manchester. 2002-2006 Post-doc position investigating circadian rhythms in zebrafish cells. Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, UCL, London. 2006-2007 Post-doc position studying transdifferentiation in eye cells. The Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, London.
2007 – present Post-doc position in The London Project to Cure Blindness. Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, London.
University College London
Me and my work
I make stem cells from your skin and turn them into eye cells
My Typical Day
Mostly looking after cells
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, creative, chocoholic
What living thing amazes you the most?
The Planarian is pretty cool. It’s a flat worm and if you cut it in half each part will regenerate into a whole planarian.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Anything that gets the adrenaline going, I loved scuba diving and white water rafting, but skydiving was the best.
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Not really, but the rest of the sixth form weren’t too happy when I stored a bag full of cows eyes in our fridge
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
When I was young I wanted to be an astronaut, but I’d probably be a chef or a baker
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
It hasn’t happened yet. We’re about to put some of the cells we’ve been making in the lab, called retinal pigment epithelial cells, into blind patients, so seeing something we’ve taken from the basic science actually going into patients will be the best thing that’s happened to me as a scientist.
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?
When I was eight my parents gave me a chemistry set, after burning magnesium ribbon I was hooked on science
What would your superpower be?
A rewind button would be great, especially when I’ve set up 96 reactions and forgotten to add enzyme
If I could change one thing about the world...
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
I loved Nancy Rothwell’s Christmas lectures in 1998, it was the first time I knew someone delivering a Christmas lecture
The most Fantastic thing about Life is:
That every single one of our ancestors survived long enough to reproduce
Show us where you work:
This is the hood where I do all of my cell culture experiments and here is the incubator where my cells live Here are some stem cells that I made from a patient’s skin. To make sure that the patient’s cell have become stem cells and produce the same proteins that embryonic stem cells make we stain them. These cells have been stained to show Oct4 in the nucleus (green) and a stem cell marker called Tra-1-60 (red).. We grow retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in a dish, they are easy to spot because they are black