Final day, keep voting everyone!
Favourite Thing: I like to mix chemicals together and see what happens, I once burnt my nose with acid and it hurt a lot! I also like to try new experiments that no-one has ever tried before.
Colchester County High School, 1990-1997, I am an Essex girl!
University of Kent, 1997-2000, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
University of Greenwich I did a PhD
University of Huddersfield, I’ve been here for nearly ten years now
Senior Lecturer & Research Scientist
Me and my work
I teach and do research connected with developing new medicines, I always avoid animal testing and try to develop and promote the alternatives we should be using as there is no need to use animals anymore.
I work at a university so I teach students about the kind of chemistry they need to know to make a new medicine, how existing medicines were discovered and what we can do in the future to make medicines work for longer and be safer. I hate the fact that some scientists use animals to test new drugs as we should instead be working on developing suitable alternatives so we no longer need to use animals. Some scientists are keen to develop alternatives and so I try and promote their work and make sure they get the recognition they deserve . A lot of the time a new medicine that works fine in animals does not work in people as they are very different to us so we should use better options instead such as computer simulations, chemical mimics and other options (there are loads!). I also do a lot of work with the public to promote science and try and make it easier to understand and more fun to learn.
My Typical Day
Give a lecture, write up some results from my research, plan another lecture and chat to students about their work, every day also involves a lot of strong coffee and chocolate.
I cycle to work, check my e-mail to see if any students need to see me (or staff!) and then get on with the main tasks of the day. A typical lecture could be on how to measure a shelf life for a new drug (who decides the ‘Best Before’ date?) or how to prove a batch of medicine is an illegal fake (imported drugs also need to be analysed to check they are what they say they are). My research at the moment is about a few different things, it always involves making new medicines or improving existing ones. So, right now we are trying to make a new product that uses microwaves to melt a drug into a formula then it is released much faster and would get rid of your pain much faster (always a good thing!). Another project is about creating a biological cell mimic out of chemicals so we can see how drugs react in that rather than testing on animals. All new medicines at the moment MUST be tested on animals before they can be released on the market, I’d like to make that optional rather than compulsory and then scientists could use suitable alternative where possible. If you’d like to hear me talk about this in an interview (and you can access youtube) then you should go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyoARw7xfFs . I also talked about it on the radio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR1ZmAN8h9E or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGi11-dBYHc . Along with all of this I do a lot of other media-type work and was lucky enough to be involved in a BBC programme with Julia Bradbury, here is the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlJCwOtL1Ok . I sometimes play squash in my lunch hour and last year became University Female Champion!
What I'd do with the money
I’d buy lots of brightly coloured lab coats, give a batch to every school in my zone and ask students to make a short video whilst wearing them, then send the clip to me with the best one winning a prize.
I’d send every school in my zone a batch of bright coloured lab coats they can keep, did you know you can get lab coats in all sorts of colours now? I’d like each school to send me back a two minute video of them wearing the coats and doing something at school (keep it legal please!). This could be doing an experiment or singing a song or anything you think I’d enjoy watching! The best video I will put up on youtube with an introduction by me and promote it to other schools to watch. I can’t wait to see what you film! One day you could even end up filming science for the BBC like I did.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Quirky, passionate, dedicated
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Local lad Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Rhianna
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Filming with the BBC
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be better at ice skating. To make the sun shine more often. To have everyone in the world happy as they are.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wasn’t sure but I knew I liked science
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Yes, once I was in BIG trouble. They took away the chocolate vending machine from the canteen and I got the whole school to sign a petition, the Headteacher was not happy!
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Being a lecturer is fun, especially when the students have graduated and got a job then they contact you to tell you they helped formulate a new medicine.
Tell us a joke.
Two guys walk in a bar, one says ‘I’ll have an H2O please’, the other guy says ‘I’ll have an H2O too’, the second guy dies (As H2O2 is a dangerous chemical)