Rossett High School & Sixth Form, Harrogate ;
University of East Anglia, Norwich ;
University of Cambridge, Cambridge
GCSEs – All the standard subjects, with French, History, Geography and Business Studies thrown in ;
A Levels – Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths ;
Degree – Natural Sciences (Biology and Chemistry) ;
PhD – Biology, University of Cambridge
Paper Round & Black Market Chocolate Salesman ;
Leaflet Delivery ;
Maths Tutor ;
Tour Guide ;
DVD Salesman ;
Summer Visiting Researcher ;
Exam Invigilator ;
PhD Student ;
I like running, cycling, football and growing vegetables. I don’t like sitcoms with laugh tracks and once had a drink with a dried-out human toe in it
I live in Dundee with my wife and son (soon to be two). We like going out and walking/cycling up hills, around woodlands and the coast. I like cooking, particularly spicy food and I also make my own bread and beer (home science with yeast!). I like football, ice hockey and cricket, although I can only play football as I’m terrible at hockey/cricket!
When a cell is challenged, many of their proteins become damaged and unusable. The cell has to make more machinery to destroy proteins to get rid of the damaged proteins before they cause harm. I research how cells do this.
Proteins are the machines of the cell, which all do specific jobs. Different jobs need to be done at different times. When a protein isn’t needed, it can be turned off, put into storage, or recycled to make new protein. When a protein becomes damaged and no longer works properly, it is recycled to make new protein. When cells become stressed (e.g. overheated by a fever, get poisoned with a toxin, get starved of food, damaged by the sun), they need to counter the stress to get better. Cells then recycle lots of proteins to make different proteins to help them get better. To do this, they need to make more protein-recycling machines. I investigate how cells sense stresses, and proteins in the cell pass the message on to make more protein recycling machines.
My Typical Day:
I get woken up by my son jumping on me, demanding to play with his trains. I then take him to nursery on my bike, and go on to work. I then set up the days experiments, plan new ones and read scientific papers. After I’ve finished my experiments I pick my son up and go home, hoping his mum will have got back before me so I don’t have to cook! I then play with trains again, read some stories and wtach some TV before bed.
At work, I will typically start my cells growing in the morning. After a few hours I’ll add some stress, then harvest their protein and see how it changes after the stress. If I need to, I’ll use genetic scissors to remove certain proteins, to see how this affects the cells and try to work out what the proteins do.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I’d get a 3D model of the protein recycling machinery, and get items for a cell-messages game where a ‘stress signal’ is passed along from one person to another, like in a cell.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Hairy, Speccy, Sleepy
What did you want to be after you left school?
I really had no idea. I'm still not sure I do!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was constantly told off for wearing trainers and being 5 minutes late for first period
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
My ideas to always be right, better skin and to have a harry potter style time turner
Tell us a joke.
Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.