Cannot believe I've got to the final two among these amazing scientists!
The Hermitage School, Co. Durham 1999-2006, Manchester Metropolitan University, BSc 2009-2012, PhD 2012-Current
BSc (Hons) Physiology and Pharmacology. Physical Training Instructor (Territorial Army)
PhD Student (MMU)
Manchester Metropolitan University
Favourite thing to do in my job This has to be finding out new things that nobody has ever found before, the feeling is awesome!
I give people very hard exercise to do and see how they improve to become fitter, leaner and healthier.
My research is about High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This is a type of
exercise that is very hard but we think that it makes people fitter and
healthier, much faster than walking or jogging for long periods does. I test
young and old people, fat and thin people, pretty much everyone! Then I see how
they are healthier and fitter.
My Typical Day
I drink a lot of coffee, watch people do exercise, take their blood and possibly do some exercise myself.
Most days I will have a person in the lab who I will be testing. First, I’ll take a
blood sample from them with a needle (not as scary as it sounds!). After that I’ll
take pictures of their muscle inside their leg to see how big it is and how
much fat the person has in their body. Then I’ll test how strong they are and
how fit they are. The person then is usually pretty hungry and very tired so
they go on their merry way and I analyse all of the information I have gathered
from them to see how fit and healthy they are. It’s kind of like a full body
What I'd do with the money
I’d buy a school science department lots of shiny, new equipment so they can do awesome experiments in their lab.
I want to give most of the money to a school science department to buy some shiny
new kit to go in their labs so they can answer questions about how the body
works the way it does. Cool experiments like, how does your muscle get tired
during exercise? Or why does your heart beat faster when you stand up as
opposed to sitting down? Or even better, why do we get hot and sweaty in PE and
how it affects us inside as well as outside our bodies!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Planner, Thinker, Happy
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Organising and leading a massive research project with over 100 people and having charge of tens of thousands of pounds to do it with. It’s the most money I’ve ever spent!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I loved my degree in Manchester, when I was offered to study more and be paid for it, I couldn’t resist.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once for forgetting my maths book, explains why I’m so bad at maths.
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
I think I’d join the army, to be outside and keep fit.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Bastille, at the moment….
What's your favourite food?
Has to be Indian food
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Canyoning, climbing and jumping off high stuff, scary, but awesome.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Be a millionaire, Play for Sunderland AFC, Do this job for the rest of my life.
Tell us a joke.
Who are the coolest blokes in the hospital? The Ultra-Sound guys!
This is where I work! My very messy desk
When I’m not at my desk, this is where I usually am. Here I’m preparing blood samples to be stored at -80C (Very Cold!) so we can analyse them later. This is my concentration face!
This is what the blood looks like when I have prepared it. The yellow stuff at the top is plasma, this has all the good stuff which is transported in your blood, like hormones and proteins and stuff. If you look closely you might see a really thin white band below this, this is that persons white blood cells, which is where we take their DNA from. The really dark red part is the persons red blood cells, where they transport all oxygen around their body to the muscles to work
This is my mate Sam having a DXA scan. Its kind of like a mini X-ray and can tell us exactly what he’s made of. This is fat, lean mass, bone and tissues like organs. He looks pretty happy for some reason…..
This is my boss Jamie on a treadmill doing a VO2 max test. I’m measuring the oxygen he breathes in and out, then a special machine tells me how much oxygen his muscles can take in when he exercises to his limit. The more oxygen he takes into his muscles, the more they can work and the further and faster he can run!
This is my friend Mat having his arm muscles tested to see how much force they can produce. He is holding a stimulator pen which gives an electric shock to his nerve under his arm which makes the whole muscle contract without him even moving it. I’ve done this and it feels really weird!
Even scientists get confused sometimes! This is Steve in our labs looking at instructions for a machine which tells us exactly how many proteins are in a blood sample we’re looking at. It uses lasers to read the light that they give off when put under stress. Lasers, always awesome….
This is the inside of my leg! Looks like a massive ham doesn’t it. This was taken on an MRI scanner that we have here. From this we measure how big someone’s leg muscles are and how this makes them stronger and less likely to get diseases
It’s not all science stuff! Skiing in the alps with my friend who has obviously reached her limit!
This is me in my other life, as an army physical training instructor! I’m the one in camouflage on the bottom left with new recruits putting them through their paces on an assault course. How do you think being a bit scared at height affects us doing exercise like this?