Thank you so so much to Jimi, Omur and and Maddison for this week, but most of all thank you to all the phenomenal students!
Estcots Primary School, East Grinstead 1996-2003; Sackville School, East Grinstead 2003-2008; Central Sussex College, Haywards Heath 2008-2010; University of Bristol 2010-2014; Cardiff University 2014-present
GCSE’s: 7A*’s 4A’s 1B; A Levels: Biology (A*), Geography (A), Chemistry (A), Global Perspectives (Distinction); AS Level Maths (C); Undergraduate Degree: Biochemistry with Study in Industry 2.1 (Hons)
Kumon Maths Tutor 2006-2008; Costa Coffee 2008-2010; Specsavers 2010; University of Bristol Student Ambassador 2010-2014; Cardiff Sixth Form College Biology Tutor 2014-2015
PhD Student at the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
I work with over 350 families all with children with genetic syndromes. I work to try and work out the different characteristics of these families, the patterns of their characteristics and the changes in these over time. Our study does this in relation to psychiatric disease and mental well-being. Genetic syndromes can come and all shapes and sizes – the ones I work with are called ‘copy number variants.’ What this means is that there is an area of DNA which is either missing, duplicated or changed. It is like a lego brick tower. If you take a brick away from the tower, it gets shorter and sometimes it will fall over or collapse – it makes it unstable. If you add a brick to the tower, this makes the tower bigger, and this also can cause it to sometime topple over or be unstable. Making changes to the lego tower, like when changes are made to DNA, can cause the individual to have some differences, physically and mentally.
My Typical Day:
Getting stuck in with some stats and analysis to try and work out how sleep affects mental health
My day can comprise of many different tasks. Some days I can spend hours on my computer, analysing statistics, trying to work out how the sleep problems of families we work with relate to their mental health problems. I then attended lots of meetings to discuss my findings, and I can sometimes do some talks. Other days, I actually go out all over the UK to collect this data. I visit families in their homes and ask them questions about their children with genetic syndromes. I get to play games and do puzzles with the children too as well as ask them some questions. I have a nice cuppa with the families and get to see them in their home environment. Some days I go to Bristol to help them with one of their sleep studies exploring sleep in schizophrenia.
What I'd do with the prize money:
Work to mobilise school and communities in the South West of England and Wales from difficult socio-economic backgrounds. I would like to create a series of leaflets, videos, lectures and exhibitions about genetic syndromes and sleep.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Motivated, passionate, personable
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Nah, not really. Just some mischief.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I am a big rock and metal fan – but I am partial to some One Direction and Justin Bieber!
What's your favourite food?
Paella – I really really like prawns!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish that I was always confident in my abilities (sometimes I am not); I wish to genuinely make a difference in the lives of families with genetic syndromes and I wish to be an inspiration to children and teenagers especially as a woman scientist.