EducationUniversity of Durham, 2000-2004; University of Oxford, 2005-2009.
QualificationsD.Phil. (Oxon.), B.Sc. (Dunelm)
Work HistoryKing’s College, London
Current JobResearch Scientist
King’s College, London
My Work: I work on the evolutionary history and developmental origin of neurons.
I am a researcher in the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King’s College London. My research is centred on understanding how we make sensory neurons – the neurons that allow us to sense pain, touch and muscle position, and how they have evolved in animals. I also work on the brain and how the size of the brain has been modified during the last 500 million years of evolution.
Before coming to King’s, I read Cell Biology at the University of Durham and subsequently received my PhD from the University of Oxford in the evolution of homeobox genes, a crucial family of genes that have been central players in animal evolutionary history.
My Typical Day: Arrive in the lab, set up a DNA experiment, check emails, have coffee and chat, dissect some embryos (mouse, chick or frog), analyse them under a fluorescence microscope, read a scientific paper, talk about science or politics over lunch, go to lab meeting/research seminar, sit with my boss and have a scientific discussion over tea, spend rest of the day (and night sometimes!) taking photographs on confocal microscope.
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
Seeing my PhD supervisor help out Allison Woollard! (My supervisor was Peter Holland – the guy with the chicken and the snakes. He is the head of the Zoology Department at Oxford.)
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Obsessed, sometimes confused.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
That’s easy: David Attenborough and the BBC Natural History Unit. Everyone who works there as far as I am concerned is a genius.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Almost never – I was a massive geek.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Taken my friend Jerome, who I met in science, to Villa Park so see a premiership match in the flesh. (He is chinese.) I have never ever seen anyone so excited about anything. Meeting people from all over the world is one of the great joys of science.