• Question: what made you want to do your job?

    Asked by coco579 on 4 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by rossdrummond, emmad, rebeccagallagheras, jackvine.
    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      The thing that makes me want to do my job in particular is that it is something which will contribute to ways in which to help people struggling with Mental Health.

      Having been working in a clinical setting (hospital), what made me want to do research was to try and help people with mental health issues BEFORE they need to be admitted to hospital.

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I chose Medicine as a career because I saw what a difference my parents were able to make to people’s lives in Sri Lanka where they first worked as doctors. I have now chosen a career in academic Medicine because I wanted to do more than the normal shift patterns, I wanted to start to understand why some diseases are the way they are and what new things we can try to do to help people. I have chosen the field of Mitochondrial research because a relative was affected with a mitochondrial disease and no one in the family knew about it! I was lucky enough to be studying in Newcastle at the time where there is a big Mitochondrial research centre, and it was very much fate. Here I am, working in Paediatrics (because I love children), and looking into Mitochondrial diseases. 🙂

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I don’t think their was ever one particular event or thing that made me want to do my current job, it has just evolved over time. Even when I was in primary school I knew I wanted to be a doctor, I couldn’t tell you exactly why. And then whilst I was at medical school and in the early part of my training I became more interested in working with children and doing research. I think often you choose a job because of opportunities that are available to you that fit with your general interests.

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I know it sounds cheesy but I wanted to make a difference with my job. My PhD was very engineering focused and despite learning some very cool methods if I stayed in that area all I would have been able to achieve was saving some companies some money. I wanted to use the skills I have to change peoples lives and help predict how disease spreads.

    • Photo: Deepak Chandrasekharan

      Deepak Chandrasekharan answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      Over time I realised I wanted a job where I worked with a team, helped people with what I did, could think and be creative, use my hands with practical skills, and every now and then get a real adrenaline situation. My surgical job with research thrown in really fits that!

      Theres an interesting essay when you have a few minutes which basically says as time goes on, your goals may change, so pick a path where you enjoy the journey! I think this is good to live by!

      Hunter S. Thompson’s Letter on Finding Your Purpose and Living a Meaningful Life

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      When I was at university doing my undergraduate degree (that’s the first degree that you do), I did a research project with an amazing woman who worked on the placenta – the ‘afterbirth’ which delivers nutrients and oxygen to a growing baby in it’s mum’s womb. I was fascinated! I loved working in pregnancy research because the stakes are so high – you have two lives to look after instead of just one! – and research goes quite quickly from the lab to the benchside, so it can really help people.

      Making sure babies are born healthy is really important because being born too big or too small increases your risk of getting diabetes and heart disease really early in life. So making people’s pregnancies healthier will make their babies healthier for life – how neat is that?!

      Plus, what other job will let you stand in the back of operating theatres and watch babies being born by cesarean section every day? I love working in pregnancy research! I never get tired of hearing that first cry.

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I knew that I wanted to do a job that helped people, but for some reason being a medical doctor didn’t appeal to me (I was extremely shy and a bit scared of people – not a good reason, I know). But I loved science and found all the different organs, particularly the brain, fascinating. A career in research and helping other scientists understand what’s going on in brain disease to maybe find cures and treatments one day seemed like a good way to be helpful!

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      Honestly, I really want to make a difference and help people, and to use the skills I have been given for doing something positive in the world. We can help people in different ways, and I think the best way is by doing something that brings you joy too and makes you feel fulfilled. Work takes up most of our lives, and I wouldn’t have stuck to being a doctor or a scientist unless I really enjoyed it! I feel that as a scientist you can have a greater impact on a greater number of people. As a doctor, you can have an impact at a very personal level to people, and you can sometimes see immediate results, but it can also be stressful and hard at times! I like combining the two as a doctor who also is a scientist/researcher! I originally wanted to study Art, German and French A-levels. Before I started my A-levels, I went to India over the summer holiday and saw a lot of poverty and suffering for the first time – something in me changed when I was there, and when I returned, I completely changed my mind and decided to be a doctor – I changed my A-levels to Biology, Chemistry and Maths and French AS!

    • Photo: Alex Blenkinsop

      Alex Blenkinsop answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      After university I worked as a statistician for a marketing company, understanding how customers (like you!) react to advertisements and measuring the effectiveness of these on what you buy later on. I really enjoyed the analytical side of things but found it a bit miserable using my skills to make huge companies more money. A friend of mine suggested I redirect my maths skills towards health research and I have found it incredibly rewarding, with the outcome of my work improving patients’ lives instead of increasing profit margins!

    • Photo: Lorena Boquete Vilarino

      Lorena Boquete Vilarino answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I got inspired by my biology teacher in high school, and later reading science fiction books. I also love solving a mystery and science is definitely full of them!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I wanted to better understand the causes of different diseases and was massively inspired by the research that was being done in the University of Bristol. So, I knew where I wanted to study my particular topic. So I decided to join the department! Since then I’ve been working on the causes and consequences of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases and other health outcomes to better understand how we can prevent them in the population. This is really important to me so motivates me to keep researching this topic

    • Photo: James Streetley

      James Streetley answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      Since being a university student, I realised I was as interested in the process to make things work as I was in the results; both for my hobbies and also doing lab experiments. So I focussed on some of the machines and microscopes we use to do experiments, as well as the experiment. This meant that I was so happy to find my current job – taking care of microscopes and solving those little problems so that other scientists can concentrate on the rest of their experiment.

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I have always been interested in human diseases, especially those that do not yet have a cure. We hear about the impact of these diseases (such as cancer and alzheimers disease) all the time – whether that be a relative, a friend or a celebrity in the media. Since secondary school, I have been interested in how diseases develop, and decided that I wanted to be involved in the process of figuring out why certain diseases happen in the first place. A better understanding of this will allow scientists to develop better medicines to treat these diseases. I love this work because it allows me to think a lot (in order to design the best experiments), and also because my ultimate goal is to help improve the lives of patients and families. Even though I only work on a small aspect of disease, I feel like I am helping to make a difference.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 5 Jun 2019:

      This has definitely evolved over time – certainly to start with I knew I wanted to be able to help patients and that I was passionate about understanding the similarities and differences between different animal species (including humans) – this is what biased me towards veterinary medicine and science. When I was on work experience placements for vet school I saw several patients with diseases that affected the nervous system (for example, brain tumours, epilepsy that was poorly responsive to drugs, and grass sickness in horses – a nasty neurodegenerative disorder that affects the ‘fight or flight’ part of the nervous system and makes it impossible for horses to eat or digest food). For most of these patients, we had little to offer other than supportive care and/or euthanasia, and whilst we were able to end suffering, I wanted to understand these diseases better so we could provide a ‘third option’ in the way of treatment. The frustration of training in neurology and neurosurgery and not being able to offer really effective treatments for some patients drove me back into the lab. My PhD was based on using stem cells to grow human brain cells and to understand how cooling could protect them from injury ‘in a dish’ – and some of the molecular pathways that enable this might be very useful for discovering new treatments for many other brain disorders. It was also clear that many of the brain problems I had seen in my patients were very similar to those seen in humans (including members of my own family) and so I felt that if I invested time in basic research I would have a chance to discover new disease mechanisms (and ultimately treatment strategies) that would help both humans and animals. Increasingly, we are recognising that the circadian system (‘our biological clock’) becomes disrupted in many brain disorders, and so understanding how this happens may lead to novel ways of developing or applying treatments. This is where my research is focused now.