Post Doctoral Research Assistant, University of Oxford
Qualifications: BA, MSci, MA, PhD
What were your favourite subjects and who were your favourite teachers at School?
My favourite subjects were biology and chemistry and I particularly enjoyed lessons with Mr Prince.
What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?
I read biochemistry at the University of Cambridge for my BA and MSci. I then worked in Kenya for 9 months at the International Livestock Research Institute. I returned to Cambridge, where I undertook the research for my PhD on the parasite that causes African Sleeping Sickness.
What does your job involve and how did you progress to your current role?
I am undertaking research to understand the shape of African trypanosomes that cause African Sleeping Sickness. The shape and form of the parasite is intimately linked to its pathogenicity. After completing my PhD I applied successfully for my current post.
What/who influenced your career choice?
The biggest influence on my career has been my fascination with the natural world and being able to contribute to the understanding of the biological world around us.
What/who has been your biggest inspiration?
I wanted to be involved in scientific work that could have long term medical benefit, especially for the poorest people in the world; hence my interest in understanding the pathogenicity of a deadly parasite disease which affects sub-Saharan Africa.
Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
To be a scientist you need passion and dedication to pursue the research through the times when everything doesn't work so you can finally get that perfect result.
What do you like most about your job?
The best part of my job is that I have personal control over the direction my research takes.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
The biggest challenge I have is to produce high quality research that will be published and therefore allow me to apply for my own independent funding.
What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?
I am especially proud of presenting my work at international conferences in front of an audience of the top researchers in the world.
How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?
Bolton School gave me an excellent education and grounding in science, which allowed me to go to a top research university. In addition, my teachers passed on their passion for science, which gave me the enthusiasm to become a research scientist.
What advice would you give to our pupils interested in your field of work?
You should read current science publications such as the New Scientist to give you a flavour of the breadth of science research out there. When you find a particular area that interests you, read around it - Wikipedia is an amazing resource for this. I would also approach labs to see if it would be possible to spend some time there over the summer getting some hands on research experience. During my time at Bolton School I undertook a short research project at Manchester University in the summer between my lower and upper sixth funded by the Nuffield Foundation.