John Robert Davis



McLaren High School (1998 – 2004), University of Durham (2005 – 2009)


BSc Hons in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Work History:

GlasxoSmtihKline and University College London

Current Job:

I am a PhD student


King’s College London

Me and my work

I love nature, it amazes me, but it also makes me ask questions such as why do sheep always look like sheep?

I love nature! I grew up in the Trossachs in Scotland and have always been surrounded by amazing landscapes, forests, bogs and midges! And I found it awe inspiring but it also made me ask lots of questions.

For example, why do sheep always looks like a sheep? How do animals have so many shapes but yet always make something that looks like them?

This curiosity led me to work with flies to see how they become the shape they are, and see if other animals do something similar.

My Typical Day

I sit in dark rooms and make movies of fly egg’s growing into magots.

I use a special microscope to make movies of fly embryo’s developing into larvae. Using genetics I can make certain cells glow green and red. This allows me to see how they organise themselves to create patterns. myimage2

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Curious whimsical and engaging

What living thing amazes you the most?

I find Insects incredible!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009 which was cool

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

I once put a spider on a girls back in my chemistry classroom, I got in trouble and a bad nickname – spiderman!

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

Probably a comedian.

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

The thing I am most proud of is that I found out how cells can organise themselves into an even spaced pattern.

Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?

My teachers and Professor Sir Robert Winston, I love his tv programmes.

What would your superpower be?

Teleportation, getting around would be so much easier

If I could change one thing about the world...

there is so many things, but probably that I do very little to change the world.

My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:

When a magnetic field was placed on someone’s head and stopped him from being able to speak properly. Crazy.

The most Fantastic thing about Life is:

that we really don’t understand how it does all the cool stuff it does.

Other stuff

Show us where you work:

This is a vial of Drosophila melanogaster with some yeast. In the background is a microscope which I use to image the embryos.