thoroughly enjoyed my week on I'm a Scientist. Thanks for the amazing questions! :)
EducationCundall Manor School, Ripon Grammar School, University of Nottingham 2001 – 2004 and 2004 – 2008
QualificationsBsc Genetics and PhD Developmental Biology both at the University of Nottingham
Work HistoryInstitute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford 2008 – now
Current JobI work as a postdoc funded by the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research (LLR)
University of Oxford
My Work: I am trying to work out how a blood stem cell is made, where it is made and how it knows to be a blood stem cell.
Every day your body produces millions of different blood cells. These include the red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body, the white blood cells that fight infection and the platelets that help to stop you bleeding if you cut yourself. All of these cells are made from just one type of cell, a blood stem cell. These blood stem cells sit in your bone marrow (the bit in the middle of your bones) and are the cells that are used in bone marrow transplants. The blood stem cell is special because when it divides into two cells, one is a copy of itself (another blood stem cell) and the other is a different blood cell perhaps one that will become a red blood cell.
I want to learn how our body makes these blood stem cells so that we can try and make these cells ourselves in a test tube. If we could do this we would be able to make all the different blood cells and we wouldn’t have to rely on people giving us their own blood cells for transplants or transfusions.
My Typical Day: Every day is different
There isn’t really a typical day. I generally start my day reading my emails and planning what I am going to do that day. This will involve meeting other scientists to discuss my work, doing an experiment or two, analysing my experiments to see if they worked or not and reading about other peoples work. Some days I do a lot of computer work, trying to work out what my experiments mean and writing presentations. Other days I don’t use my computer at all and I just do experiments. I like the variety that my job brings, because no two days are ever exactly the same.
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
I enjoyed learning about plants from Sue Hartley in 2009
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Thorough, fun & Yorkshire!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
A combination of great teachers and my cousin who died from a genetic disease called cystic fibrosis
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Sometimes yes, but I hope I wasn’t a terrible student…
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Whale watching in Australia was pretty cool