Folkestone School for Girls, Kent, 1996-2003
Royal Veterinary College, London, BSc (2004-2007) PhD (2007-present)
I have worked in a clothes shop, as a waitress and in a gap year before university (to make money) I pulled things apart! I tested medical products to see how much force was needed to break them, it was good fun.
I am currently finishing my PhD on cells and African swine fever virus and how together they harm pigs. I have until September to finish so I am cramming at the minute.
The virus I work on is called African swine fever virus and if pigs get it they can die very quickly. Not a lot is really known about this virus and how and why it kills the pigs. This is one of the great things about science, loads of stuff is just not known and that means that I can try and work it out which is what I love. So what I have been doing is looking at the virus and the cells from the pig to see how they work together. This hopefully can help us to understand why the virus kills the pigs and also to make vaccines to prevent the pigs from dying. Here is a picture of my virus (I think its pretty cool!)
I wanted to put what I had last week as my favourite thing here, I still love it but I wanted to update it. So what was there was:
Talking!!! I talk at work to work mates. Then I go on conferences (travelling is also a great thing about being a scientist!) and I talk to more people about science. The great thing about science is that talking is good, we need to talk to each other to find out what people are doing and what exciting discoveries have been made.
My Typical Day:
Planning experiments then doing them involving growing my cells and then looking at them with different kinds of microscopes
My alarm goes off about 10 times then I get up. I get to work and plan my experiments before having a cuppa tea and a chat with my work collegues.
My experiments normally involve looking at cells with different microscopes to see what the cells and the viruses are doing. I actually spend a lot of time looking after cells and setting things up.
The picture below shows some of my cells, I have to take care of them and feed them regularly to keep them healthy for my experiments
I do my experiments with the virus on the cells and look at them again with a different microscope to see if anything is different. I sometimes get differences and can get pretty pictures
I can even look at single cells
If things are looking really interesting I can use a really powerful microscope to actually see all the insides of the cells
These pictures are really complicated and I find it really exciting to be able to see all those things but I have to get expert help to work out what everything is!
Occassionly I kill some time on the web including twitter (@PamLithgow, follow me if you like) and facebook (yeah scientist use them too), or on websites that make jokes for scientists (because I am a geek at heart)!!
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would buy a laptop and a camera to attach to the microscopes. This would be used by the group at my institute which goes to schools and clubs to show students science.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Happy, Organised and Mad
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1- Win a nobel prize! 2- Run a lab of my own. 3- Win the lottery
Tell us a joke.
How many lives does a radioactive cat have? 18 halflives