Birkenhead School, 89-96
UCL, London, 1997-2003
Milkman (boy), Shop assistant (selling tellys and washing machines), Student (London), Postdoctoral Researcher (Ottawa, Canada), Lecturer (London)
University College London Institute for Women’s Health
Job title is ‘Lecturer’, but spend most of my time in the lab
Looking down the microscope at brightly coloured cells.
Me and my work
Am trying to work out why womens’ eggs get a bit dodgy as they get olderRead more
It’s well known that women find it more and more difficult to get pregnant as they older. Whereas the chance of getting pregnant (assuming a few other important events take place) is generally quite high in the 20s, its much lower in the 40s. A major reason for this is the egg. For reasons that are very poorly understood, eggs which are ovulated by younger women are usually healthy – but eggs ovulated by older women have a high chance of having the wrong number of chromosomes (‘aneuploid’). These eggs are usually unhealthy (not surprisingly – having the wrong number of chromosomes is kind of a big deal). So, although they may get fertilised, they will almost certainly not develop into a healthy baby. In fact, most of these oocytes probably die before the woman even knew she was pregnant.
This is pretty important as these days couples want to wait longer before starting a family.
I try to understand how eggs normally try to make sure they have the right number of chromosomes… and how this might go wrong as women get older. This involves lots of staring down microscopes looking at chromosomes and the part of the egg which is normally responsible for making sure that the egg has the right number – the spindle. See attached image – the egg is the big round thing, the spindle is the bright green oblong part within the egg, and the chromosomes are in blue (the image on the right is a zoom of the left, the egg is eighty um wide – fifteen side-by side make 1mm). Our most important findings so far have been discovering different ways in which egg spindles are different to spindles in other cells – and our hope is that this will eventually lead us to understanding what goes wrong…
My Typical Day
Coffee, lab, email, lab, meeting, more coffee, lab, teaching, pub, home (and check more email)
What I'd do with the money
My plan is to pay a camera-man for a day or two to come into our lab and make a small video of what we do, and why, chat with a couple of the students in the lab etc etc. Maybe a 20 min video. Like, a day in our lab! I’d get this made into a DVD, and have a copy sent to each of the classes ive webchatted with, and hopefully, each of the schools in IAS (if the money streches that far).
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Tall, slightly hyperactive.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Well… will listen to almost anything… but have a bit of a softspot for… wait for it… country and western music (yes, really)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Lived in the jungle in Panama
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Have smaller feet (i find difficult to get shoes), Play center forward for England (OK, not v. realistic), Win Nobel Prize
What did you want to be after you left school?
Doctor. Decided halfway through college that I liked looking down microscopes more than looking at patients.
Were you ever in trouble in school?
Errr, yes, quite a lot. Was never ‘really naughty’… but frequently sent out of classes for talking too much/too loudly… and for shouting out in class (Sorry Mr P)
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Worked out a particular aspect of how eggs ‘talk’ to other cells in the ovary
Tell us a joke.
What’s green, brown, and would hurt if it fell out of a tree onto you?………………………………………………………… a snooker table
if u had one wish wat would u do with it?
What do you fid intersting about womens eggs ?
what is the meaning of life ??????????
what could happen if youre diagnosed with ivf whilst your pregnant? on 8th month or something..
how much time do you spend at work and what do you do in one day .. it must get boring at times?? :):):)
If you were to adopt, when they’re old enough to understand, would you tell them that they are adopted ? ?
why is science important
can you have ivf if your dieing or very ill ?
Do you ever get to spend time with your family?
HI Greg do you like friends provident twenty 20 cricket, i support somerset, if you like it who do you support
View all my answered questions
Whats the most embarrasing thing you have done (1 comments)
what d\\\'you guys do with the money you earn? (1 comments)
What is your favourite element? (1 comments)
were you all good at science when you went to school or did you just have a general passion for the subject ? (: (1 comments)
what is your favourite colour and why? (2 comments)
- Can the students win anything?
- Chat seems to be blocked, what can I do?
- Have you got a video that explains this more easily?
- How can I learn more about these topics?
- How can I stop people from bothering me when I'm trying to take part in I'm a Scientist?