Newstead Woods School for Girls (1997-2004) University of Leeds (2004-2007) University of Westminster (2007-2011)
PhD in exercise and cellular physiology, BSc in medical sciences, some A-levels, some GCSEs and a phlebotomy certificate which means I can take peoples blood.
My first job was in Boots. Since then I’ve worked at a couple of pharma companies, one in London and one in Bergen, Norway and at a University.
My official title is “Post-Doctoral Research Assistant”
Queen Mary University of London and University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur
I take cells from cartilage in the knees of cows and try to find out they recognise and respond to different signals, like what they do when we run up stairs or what happens to them when we get old.
Cartilage is on the ends of all our bones and helps protect them by stopping them banging together at the joints.
Cartilage is made of cells called chondrocytes anddifferent molecules called proteins, which are made by the chondrocytes.
Chondrocytes are very clever and can sense when we exercise or move. They then make extra proteins to make our cartilage stronger. But chondrocytes are also very delicate and if they are damaged or killed then they do not replace or repair themselves. So when chondrocytes die we have less and less, so we can make less and less proteins and our cartilage becomes weak.
In my work I take chondrocytes from cows knees and put them into a jelly-like substance called agarose. The I squish them and try and find out how they sense when we exercise, how they talk to each other and how they die. Hopefully one day we will find out how to stop them dying and how to replace them.
My Typical Day
Taking care of cells, staring down microscopes, cleaning dirty cow legs, drinking tea, running a lot of stairs, turning the numbers from my experiments into pretty graphs and fixing equipment
What I'd do with the prize money
I think I’d probably use it to arrange for schools to visit working laboratories and see all the cool and different stuff science can do.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Massive sports fan!
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I got to go to Japan for a conference to present my work
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I read it when I was about 9 or 10 and it made me want to learn everything about the natural world and how it all works
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Only when I was caught….
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I’d either be an athlete or run an animal shelter
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Hmmm, at the moment probably Iggy Azalea or Rizzle Kicks. Kelly Clarkson and Green Day are up there with my all time favourites.
What's your favourite food?
Pickled onions (I know it’s weird)!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Being a Games Maker at London 2012 was pretty awesome.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
A decent singing voice, a bit more patience and happiness
Tell us a joke.
A drum and a cymbal fell off a cliff….