Name of MRC-funded unit/centre/institute
MRC Toxicology Unit
University of Cambridge
Imperial College, London (2012- 2017) and Coventry University (2009-2012)
A PhD in lung biology, a Masters degree in Biomedical Research and an Undergraduate degree in Forensic Science
King's College London, The Royal Veterinary College and the MRC Toxicology Unit
Favourite thing to do in my job: Planning exciting new experiments
A Londoner who loves to explore and discover the world around her
I live in London with my hamster, Winston. I like to travel and explore, meet up with friends and watch American Dad. When I’m not in the lab you’ll usually find me at the Natural History Museum or learning to belly dance.
Discovering how air pollution hurts our lungs so that we can try to fix the problem
Have you ever had black snot after a long day in London? That’s a sign that your lungs are fighting against pollution from the air that you’ve breathed in.
Scientists know that air pollution is bad for our lungs but they aren’t really sure why…
My job is to find out what our lungs do after that day in London, when they have come across lots of pollution.
I do this in the lab by sprinkling pollution onto pieces of lung and watching what they do next.
My Typical Day
I'm usually found in the lab sprinkling pollution onto bits of lung
I start my experiments early in the morning by adding pollution to pieces of lung. After a few hours (and several coffees!) I dust off the pollution and see how the lung is.
This is the cool part of my job because it’s different every day. Sometimes I measure how unhealthy the lung is (or if it’s died even!) other days I check whether it can still do its jobs properly.
The best days are when I add bacteria to the experiments too – pollution stops the lungs from getting rid of bugs. That’s one of the reasons we get chest infections!
What I'd do with the prize money
I would like to organise air pollution treasure hunts for budding scientists across the country
I would use the prize money to create fun science afternoons for schools. After meeting an air quality scientist to find out where air pollution comes from, groups can explore their local area to see who can find the most and the least polluted places.
Each group gets to use an air pollution monitor – a little machine that experts use to measure how much air pollution is in the air around them. This is a real experiment so at the end, everyone can get together, discuss their results and crown the winning groups!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
A huge nerd
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Going to The Houses of Parliament to share my research with politicians
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Learning about the plague- I've always enjoyed a gory story! Oh, and David Attenborough- he's epic!
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology of course!
What did you want to be after you left school?
I couldn't choose between a forensic scientist or an archaeologist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Nope- I drew a moustache on a picture of the headmistress once but they never found out who did it! hehehe
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I'd love to study pollution in space. Sign me up for Mars!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Anything I can dance to in the car
What's your favourite food?
I could eat curry every day, for every meal. Yummm
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Being a pilot for the day- we learnt to loop the loop!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be amazing at ice skating, to get my (late) Hogwarts letter and to visit Antarctica
Tell us a joke.
Why did the octopus beat the shark in a fight? – Because the octopus was well armed....