measuring proteins in placenta samples
Hounsdown Secondary School
1999-2002 The University of Southampton Ist class honours Molecular Cell Biology
2006 PhD in physiology
Lecturer in Epigenetics
The University of Southampton
Favourite thing to do in my job Go to conferences and present my data to an international audience of experts. This means visiting really exciting places and making friends all over the world.
I study the placenta: the thing that feeds the baby in the womb. I find out how it takes food from the mums blood to the baby’s blood so the baby grows properly.
I get human placentas (the thing attached to the baby which feeds it during pregnancy) straight after the baby has been born. These are quite bloody and like a large red cow pat. I keep them alive in a special warm chamber and feed them the appropriate buffers. I then put substances in on the side representing the mums circulation and see what goes across to feed the baby. I then establish what nutrient transporters are in the placenta at the genetic level; I have already discovered 3 new transporters. I can use this information to work out why some babies are born really small and at risk of death and disease. This allows us to find ways of improving their growth in the womb so that they are healthy at birth and not at risk of later disease.
My day is really varied so I never get bored doing the same thing. I visit labour ward and collect placentas and then do really messy experiments with the whole placenta! I also do precise molecular experiments measuring specific genes. I check my e-mail and facebook and do a bit of snacking. Perhaps have a meeting where we talk about the latest data. Analyse data and write them up into a paper which hopefully gets published, or write the data up into a small summary abstract which can be presented at a scientific meeting (this means trip abroad to exciting destination).
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
fun, determined, slightly weird
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I went to Chile last year and presented my data at a really large meeting. The talk was scary but I got to see Chile and Rio which was amazing.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes…oops.. they had no sense of humour!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Cheryl Cole, muse
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Jump a massive cross country course on my pony
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I could eat as much as I like and not get fat
Tell us a joke.
You’re on a horse galloping away at speed. On your right is a sharp drop, on your left is an elephant travelling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is a kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you a lion is chasing you. What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation??……….Get off the merry go round and act your age!!