Photo:

Amy Birch

Aaaah no evicted! Thanks for all the questions guys! You've been great :)

Favourite Thing: I love learning new things, so I get very excited when I get the chance to watch or help with some new skill. My favourite thing is probably the fluorescent microscope – you get to take so many pretty pictures in so many different bright colours!

My CV

Education:

Dean Close School Cheltenham 1994-2000, King’s School Worcester 2000-2002, Liverpool University 2003-2007, Trinity College Dublin 2007-2011

Qualifications:

13 GCSEs (5 A*, 8 A), 3 A-levels (Chemistry A, Maths B, Biology C), BSc Zoology, MSc Evolutionary Psychology, PhD Neuroscience

Work History:

This is my 1st research job after my PhD! But I have worked also as a Tutor in Statistics, Physiology & teaching Medical students during my PhD.

Current Job:

Research Associate

Employer:

Imperial College London

Me and my work

I work on Alzheimer’s disease, which affects your memory as you get older. I am interested in finding out how immune cells (they work in your brain by repairing things & tidying up mess) are involved in this disease.

Alzheimer’s disease causes people to start to forget things, and even stop recognising their friends and family. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find a way to stop this disease so I am working on ways that we can alter the immune cells in the brain (that usually help to destroy any infection, tidy up any mess and repair nerve cells) so that they can start to protect the brain more effectively.

My Typical Day

Lots of coffee, running experiments in the lab and checking on my mice

Today was very typical, this morning I came into the office, checked my emails with a coffee and then went into the lab to develop some western blots. I had a type of protein that I wanted to look at, so I used a molecule that attaches itself specifically to this protein and also has a fluorescent tag on it. Then I used photographic film (the type used in cameras before everything was digital!) to take a picture of this protein so that I could compare any differences in amount between my samples.

Then I had lunch outside on the grass with my friends, and this afternoon I have been marking a report that a student of mine had sent to me. I have also gone to the animal house to check on my mice. These are special mice that are bred to have the same changes in their brain as humans have in Alzheimer’s disease. This means that we can test different drugs on them to see if they can help us to understand more about the disease.

What I'd do with the money

I would bring local schools to Imperial College, give them a tour around the campus, get them involved in some fun science experiments & show them around the Science Museum which is just next door!

I am collaborating with the Outreach department at Imperial College so students who are interesting in science to Imperial College for the day. They will get a tour of the university, see some cool science demonstrations (get hands-on experience and see some labs too), and get also get a tour around the Science Museum that is just next door!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Loyal, blonde, chatty

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I really like Florence & the Machine, she has a fantastic voice & her songs always make me feel better after a long day in the lab.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Before I went to University I went to South Africa for 2 months to work in a Game Reserve. It was so much fun! I met some great people, but the best thing was that I went cage-diving with Great White Sharks!!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1. I have always wanted to spend a year on a ship studying whales and dolphins 2. I wish I could sing! I have a terrible voice but I love music so it’s very embarrassing when people catch me singing along to songs on the radio. 3. To win the lottery of course!

What did you want to be after you left school?

I wanted to be a vet. I love animals & my family has a lot of doctors in it so I decided to do some work experience at different vets before I applied to University. Then I realised that actually I was more interested in why the animals were acting certain ways than how to make them better! That’s when I knew I should study animal behaviour.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes, I got in trouble in secondary school for being in a big water fight and soaking one of the teachers! I had to miss out on a school trip as punishment and write an apology letter to the teacher.

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Well I haven’t cured Alzheimer’s yet…but I’m working on it!

Tell us a joke.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Cash. Cash who? No thanks, but I’d love some peanuts!

Other stuff

Work photos:

This is me at my office (with a delicious cupcake from the rest of my lab for my birthday!) myimage1

This is me with a Phd student in the lab, Katrin myimage2

This is our lab space, with added postdoc (Loukia at the front) and student! (Chrissi next to me) myimage3