Name of MRC-funded unit/centre/institute:
MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology
University College London
EducationSt Albans School (2002-2009), University of Bristol (2009-2013), University College London (2013-2018)
QualificationsBSc Biochemistry with Study in Industry (2013), PhD in Molecular Cell Biology (2018)
Work HistoryDelivering Ikea catalogues, car park attendant at music festivals, bar staff at Wetherspoons.
Current JobPost-doctoral Research Associate
Favourite thing to do in my job: Design a great experiment and discover something new!
About Me: I live in St Albans, I enjoy running and playing the drums.
I’m half British and half Cypriot, born and raised in the UK. I live in St Albans – a town 20 minutes north of central London. I enjoy running, swimming, cycling, watching football, eating, playing PS4 and looking at memes on the internet. I like rock music and I play the drums.
My Work: I study how and why cells eat themselves. I also train people to use robots for doing experiments.
Your body is made up of trillions of tiny cells. When your cells get hungry, they start eating themselves. This process is called ‘autophagy’ and helps the cells in our body to survive. My job is to understand how this happens. To do this, I use genetic manipulation, biochemistry experiments and powerful microscopes.
Another part of my job is to help other people use robots to do experiments. The lab I work in owns many expensive robots that you don’t normally find in a typical lab, and we share these with lots of other people. Using robots means being able to do more experiments in a short space of time, compared to doing everything by hand.
My Typical Day: Plan experiments, drink coffee, do experiments, finish other experiments, help other people to use robots, go to a talk.
I often plan my experiments for the day during my commute, so that I am ready to get started as soon as I get to the lab.
Before getting started, I meet my lab mates for a quick coffee and chat about the day ahead. It’s also a good time to find out whether we need to order any lab supplies or if any machines need fixing.
Once coffee is finished, I get to work by feeding my cells and preparing new experiments.
I will then continue an experiment from the previous week, so I might spend the rest of the time using a microscope or imager to collect data. Experiments can take a few days, so I normally make them overlap to make the best use of my time.
Sometimes I will spend an hour or two helping people use the robots in our lab, or using the robots for my own research.
Here’s a couple of videos of the robots in action:
The robots are programmed using a computer, which you can see at the start of the second video.
Every now and then I will have a meeting with my boss (or ‘P.I.’ which stands for ‘Principle Investigator’) to discuss results and make plans.
In the afternoon, I might go to be in the audience for a talk by another scientist. This is a good way to find out about new research and learn about what the other people in my department are doing.
What I’m doing for the MRC Festival:
I’ll be helping out at science fair at University College London on Saturday 15 June 2-6pm.
It’s open to all ages – feel free to come along to join some fun science activities.
Follow this link to register and find out more:
What I'd do with the prize money: Run a science competition, or send schools something I made in the lab.
I have a couple of ideas:
The main idea – I would like to use the money towards prizes for a school science competition.
Another idea would be to use the money to send something non-hazardous that I can make in the lab (for example, green fluorescent protein) to different schools around the country, along with a leaflet explaining how it was made.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
curious, careful, logical
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Family and friends.
What was your favourite subject at school?
It kept switching, but I guess I settled with Biology in the end. I also liked Economics.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had no idea, so I just decided to keep studying!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was once suspended for breaking an 'unbreakable' chair - it proved not to be but I faced the punishment.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A crime scene investigator, or a train driver.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Anything with melted cheese on it.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Flying a plane and firing a rifle at cadets when I was at school (not at the same time).
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Being slightly taller, being better at sport, being able to stay awake during movies.
Tell us a joke.