It was fun while it lasted!
I went to high school at Paraparaumu College in New Zealand. Between 2001 and 2004, I did an undergraduate degree at Victoria University in New Zealand. Then I decided I’d like to see more of the big bad world, so I moved to Austraila for a one year research project at the Australian National University. I loved research so much that I stayed at the Australian National University for a PhD between 2006-2009. In 2009 I moved to Cambridge, UK, where I have been a scientist ever since.
Bachelor of Biomedical Science from Victoria University, Wellington. Biomedical Science Honours from the Australian National University and a PhD also from the Australian National University.
When I was at high school I worked at BP as a fuel transfer technician, okay, I put petrol into people’s cars. While I was at University I was a checkout chick at a supermarket, a receptionist and a laboratory assistant. I was lucky enough to have a scholarship during my PhD, so I didn’t need to work. Now I work at the University of Cambridge.
University of Cambridge and Churchill College
Favourite thing to do in my job: Talking about my experiments with other scientists. Not only do they get excited too, but, they have interesting ideas about what the results from the experiments mean, and what to do in the future. Science is best as a team sport.
I work on white blood cells that protect your body from germs, these are the cells of your immune system. I want to know how these cells talk to each other and how that changes what happens during infection.
My Typical Day
Get a sample of tissue containing immune cells, for example blood, extract the immune cells from the sample. Then label different parts of the cells with many different fluorescent tags and run them through a machine that can detect the tags. Analyse and interpret the resulting data!
What I'd do with the prize money
I’d like to distrubute as many copies of the book “Your amazing immune system” as I can for £500, to schools in the UK. You can check out an online, interactive version, by copying & pasting this link into your browser http://www.interactive-immunity.org/
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Contains mutant cells (see work images if you want an explanation)
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Discover a new type of white blood cell, then figure out how it develops and what it does!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes, but after some time in after school detention and a shiny black eye I sorted myself out.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. That I could speak Spanish fluently (I’m learning at the moment, and it is really hard!). 2. That my family lived just around the corner, and not halfway around the world. 3. That I could go on holiday to South America for 6 months.
Tell us a joke.
Whatever you do in life, always give 100%. Unless you are donating blood.