Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all of your votes! I can't believe I won... Well done to Juan for some amazing chats and some great answers!
Royal Grammar School (2005-2007), University of Manchester (2007-2010), University of York (2010-2011), University of Liverpool (2011-2015)
York Foundation Trust Hospital
University of Liverpool
Favourite thing to do in my job: Playing with fun technologies. I’m such a geek and I get very excited!
There are bacteria living all over the surface of your skin. I try to find out how this bacteria manages to survive somewhere so difficult.
Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. It’s very good at stopping things on the outside from getting in, and things on the inside getting out. One of its main jobs is to protect our bodies from bacteria that could make us poorly. Because of this the skin is a dangerous place for most bacteria; it’s very dry and there isn’t much food, the skin makes lots of harmful things to kill bacteria and there is always the risk of being knocked off as we shed our dead skin cells. Some bacteria have become very good at surviving on our dangerous skin. Most of the time we live happily with this bacteria and it can even help to stop harmful bacteria from making us ill.
I want to find out how the bacteria that make our skin their home manage to survive. One day this might help other scientists stop some harmful bacteria from making us ill, or even help make deodorants that stop smelly bacteria from making us smell!
My Typical Day
Sitting at a computer drinking lots of tea!
I do most of my experiments on a computer which makes me something called a bioinformatician, a big word for someone who uses computers to look at biology.
I look at the genome sequences of bacteria by using computer programs that can read DNA. DNA is a very long pattern of the letters G, A, T and C spelled out by bases. These bases are arranged in words that we call genes and genes are the instructions a cell needs to make all of it’s different parts. The genome sequence of a bacteria is a very long list of all of the genes a bacteria has in the right order, sort of like a plan of the whole bacteria.
I use computer programs that can help me find the differences in these genome sequences between different kinds of bacteria, whether these are tiny differences in the individual letters of the DNA or big differences in whole words.
I have to sit in one place all day often looking at the same thing for days at a time until I find what I’m looking for, so I need lots of cups of tea and chocolate bars to keep my going! I love it when I find what I have been looking for, it’s the best part of what I do and it completely makes the days staring at my computer worth while.
What I'd do with the prize money
Open the doors of my university
I would use the money to host a day for school pupils at the University of Liverpool. The day would let the pupils see a day in the life of a scientist- they would do fun experiments, spend some time in the lecture theaters and meet real scientists.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Geeky. Sporty. Happy.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Having a paper published. It made me feel very grown up.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My GCSE Chemistry teacher, Mrs Marsden, and Professor Sir Robert Winston.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I got detention once ever and I still remember it now.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Beyonce. I love her.
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Last year I went to learn to make macarons in Paris- that was amazing!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be finished my PhD right now. To get a job I love immediately that I can keep for as long as I want. For that job to pay me loads of money so I can go shpping whenever I want and buy whatever I want!
Tell us a joke.
who runs faster, hot or cold? Hot… you can catch cold!