Research Scientist studying viruses
EducationUniversity of St Andrews (2005-2009), Edinburgh Napier University (2009-2010) then University of Glasgow (2010-2014)
QualificationsA Bachelors (BSc) with Honours, a Masters of Science (MSc) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Work HistoryI have worked as a waitress, in the Tourist Information Office and at Boarding Kennels
Current JobResearcher at the University of Glasgow
MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
Favourite thing to do in my job: Working in the lab making new discoveries
About Me: Scottish Superhero Scientist ready to kick some virus butt!
I live with my high school sweetheart in the glorious West end of Glasgow. I’m a big animal lover but unfortunately our rented flat doesn’t allow pets, so I’m currently dreaming of the day when I can get a dog/ tortoise of my very own. I’m the oldest of 4 (2 sisters and brother). I’m quite crafty and like to make things (usually a mess…). I’m not allergic to anything but I do have an irrational fear of spiders. When I’m not doing science I enjoy baking, knitting, horse riding and yoga.
My Work: I study infectious diseases spread by mosquitoes
I study viruses that people can get after being bitten by a mosquito. Some of them can be pretty nasty and can cause death. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of vaccines or drugs out there that we can use to stop these nasty bugs making us sick. My job is change that. I look at what these viruses get up to within the cells of our bodies, how our body responds to the virus and what happens to make us sick. I hope that by learning how a virus makes us sick, I can make a drug to stop it.
I’ve written about some of the viruses I work with – like chikungunya virus and zika virus that you can read here: https://theconversation.com/delhi-has-been-hit-by-a-chikungunya-epidemic-what-is-this-disease-65592 and https://theconversation.com/whatever-happened-to-the-zika-virus-82618
And check me out being interviewed on the news!
My Typical Day: I work in a lab with live mosquitoes
I work in a lab with pipettes, microscopes, chemicals and mosquitoes! I have to wear safety clothing like a white lab coat (which keeps my clothes clean), blue gloves (not woolly ones!) and sometimes even safety glasses (to keep my eyes safe from nasty chemicals). Most days after I arrive at the lab, I will set up an experiment that usually involves moving clear liquids from different tubes into the same tube. I then place this tube into an expensive piece of equipment, wait a while, then go and check the results.
If I’m not working with clear liquids, I’m doing experiments with cells (like the ones that make up our bodies) which I keep in pink liquid in a sterile environment away from moulds, bacteria and fungi (I don’t want anything to make my cells sick apart from the virus I put on them).
If I’m really lucky I might get to do an experiment with our mosquitoes which I keep in a special cadge in a very hot and humid room!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Geeky, Fidgety, Dependable
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Write a novel
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Pickled Onion Monster Munch
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Hand feeding wild monkeys in Africa
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To have my own private tropical island, the ability to teleport and to always have perfect hair
Tell us a joke.
Did you hear the one about the magic tractor? It went down the road and turned into a field!