Lancaster Royal Grammar School, then Cambridge University and then UCL for a PhD
GCSEs and A-levels, Undergrad degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD
I did a PhD, then worked as an Explainer at the Science Museum (London) and on the Christmas Lectures (on BBC4) at the Royal Institution, then I moved to Mozambique in Africa for three years where I helped on a water and sanitation project as well as taught a short course at a small university, then I moved by to the UK and was back into research – first as a bio statistician, then into labs.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Favourite thing to do in my job: Watching cells in my experiments glow
About Me: I'm a scientist, a dad, and a husband. I enjoy finding out new things - I suppose that's why I'm a scientist! I also love finding out new things about the world and people by discovering new places, trying new foods, and having long conversations with friends.
My Work: I try to work out why we sleep at nighttime and are awake in the daytime. I use microscopes and very sensitive cameras to see how this happens by doing experiments with cells!
My Typical Day: After I get to work on my bike, I first take my chemicals out of the fridge to warm up. Then I go and make sure that any experiments that are running overnight are still working - they sometimes crash! Then I get a coffee and look at the results of yesterday's experiments while I wait for equipment and chemicals to warm up. When everything is warm, I spend a couple of hours checking cells and setting up new experiments - things are always on the go! In the afternoon I usually do shorter jobs, like some of the steps to make new versions of genes that I can put into cells, or making new chemicals that I can use in my research. That bit is a bit like cooking - I follow lots of recipes!
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
Seeing an experiment I had designed for this year’s lectures work really well – I was so nervous about it beforehand because experiments often don’t work all the time, but to see it work first time was amazing
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
fun, easygoing, thinker
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My grandads – one grandad was a chemistry professor and used to show me his lab, the other was a real practical guy and built lots of things with me and brother when we were younger
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once or twice, but only really because of forgetting things like homework.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Go karting - if I wasn't so tall I would have loved to have been a racing driver.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be able to fly, to have clothes that washed themselves, and to have super-sight