Congratulations to Cat. We all did good and hopefully the students got some inspiration from us. I will still get £500 to support my cause though from another source :)
1997 – 2003: Wallington County Grammar School for Boys
2003 – 2011: University of Warwick (BSc: Biochemistry, MSc: Systems Biology, PhD: Chemistry/Engineering/Systems Biology)
2005 – 2006: GE (General Electric)
Lots of science…
University of Warwick as a PhD researcher
Favourite thing to do in my job: Normally it would be getting a positive or exciting result, but in fact in my experience this is nice, but the best thing is being able to interest or excite others with that result!
Studying antibiotic resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus
Inventing new methods to analyse the proteins (enzymes) which make the bacterial cell wall – a target site of many of mankind’s best antibacterial drugs and consequently too the site of resistance towards them. I use a huge variety of methods to study this, and get to play with very complex mixtures of compounds, enzymes and antibiotic drugs. I also try to ‘model’ these systems using mathematics and simulations, so I can see things happen on a computer screen too.
What I'd do with the prize money
Use it to benefit the university-school Outreach program (which gives the opportunity for schools to experience some really cool science done at university level)
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Realist (painfully!), trustworthy (whatever it is, I keep that secret), curious (nearly to a fault)
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I found something in a book, by accident, which had not been noticed. The implication of that finding was huge, and resulted in me having to give a talk to many, many, many important people. That was a huge privilege, and wickedly scary at the time
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not *too* often. No word of a lie, it was circumstantial, when it happened.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
It’s very difficult to say, as it changes every hour. At the moment though I’m mostly into rap, hip hop and heavy metal
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I drove with two friends to Cardiff completely spontaneously. The most fun part was driving the wrong way back home and going through the Brecon Beacons national park with a car full of food and music. Beautiful area and a whole lot nicer than the city life that I’m used to!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To give up all the bad habits which hold me back (which is probably true for most people) – I believe anybody can achieve anything and its just how they apply themselves that limits it. Other than that, a time machine/teleportation device. And finally, to live in the present and actually live life at a satisfying pace!
Tell us a joke.
I changed my friend’s bed to a trampoline. Unimpressed – she hit the roof.