• Question: who has been the most inspirational influence to your research/work?

    Asked by jake43211 to Aina, AlexAgrotis, Alex, Ambre, Anabel, Deepak, Emmanuelle, Ettie, James, Kaitlin, Kate, Lorena, Marianne, Matthew, MattyB, Nina, Patrick, Rachel, Rebecca, Ross, Ryan, Shobhana, Shonna, Thiloka, David on 18 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by iqera.
    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 18 Jun 2019:


      I would say those who inspired me the most were those who I wanted to work with in the department – they inspired me to come work in the field in which I now work. Professors and mentors that I now have as part of my group or team are those who inspire me every day to be a better researcher than I am.

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 18 Jun 2019:


      I agree with Kaitlin, my supervisors and close colleagues are inspiring as I see what they can achieve and realise I can do that too.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 18 Jun 2019: last edited 18 Jun 2019 7:53 pm


      Thank you for the question! This one is really tough; there are so many scientists in different fields that have inspired me (molecular and circadian biologists, physicists, neuroscientists)…..however……

      In terms of molecular biology I would have to say my brother, who is a structural biologist (and the most modest person I know – but he’s an amazing scientist and fantastic at explaining things!)

      In terms of circadian biology, it’s definitely by current boss, Dr John O’Neill who’s taught me so much about cellular clocks and how to design circadian experiments (and supported me through the gauntlet of Fellowship funding!) – you can read more about the O’Neill lab here:

      John O’Neill

      In terms of clinical science it’s the Scottish vet Dr John B Glen who discovered and developed the drug propofol – one of the most widely used anaesthetics worldwide (it has been used in millions of humans and animals in more than 90 countries). I use propofol almost every day in the clinic – it allows me to anaesthetise and recover patients quickly so that I can make diagnoses and perform life-changing surgeries in the minimum amount of time, with minimum pain and distress. If you have ever undergone a general anaesthetic, it is very likely that you received propofol – and thanks to this, you will have felt no pain and have no memory of what happened whilst you were under anaesthesia.

      When it comes to working on brain cells – it’s really the patients who have led me to this; the brain disorders that still have few or no treatments because we lack a detailed understanding of how the brain works, and therefore, how to fix it

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 18 Jun 2019:


      Although not a scientist, I think Mahatma Gandhi has been a real inspirational influence to my work. He taught me a lot about the importance of empowering others, and highlighted the importance of serving the rural poor and the most marginalised communities and helping them find their voice. I hope that my research will help empower and educate people in rural areas of the world.

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 19 Jun 2019:


      Quite a few people! In other answers I’ve talked about the scientist Ben Barres who did amazing research on astrocytes and neurons, and how they interact with each other. But I feel I should also mention that on a day to day basis my supervisor is probably my most inspirational influence. He’s always very enthusiastic – even when I want to be grumpy and wallow in self pity because my experiment failed again – and is always helpful even though he’s really busy. He also has about a million ideas at any one time, which can be overwhelming but fun. My fellow PhD colleagues are great too.

    • Photo: Alex Blenkinsop

      Alex Blenkinsop answered on 19 Jun 2019:


      I would also have to say my colleagues around me. There’s nothing more motivating and inspirational than seeing someone so passionate about the research they are doing 🙂

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 19 Jun 2019:


      Definitely my PhD supervisor! She was my supervisor from my undergraduate final year project, through my masters degree through my PhD. She was so supportive and lovely!

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 19 Jun 2019:


      This guy right here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/mrc-human-genetics-unit/research/boulter-group
      My boss, my colleague my scientific wingman but most importantly my friend.
      We’ve done a ton of great science together over the past 5 years and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to do science we’ve also had some great conversations about life as we’ve both got a wee bit older and things have changed.
      He is both an inspiration and an influence.

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 21 Jun 2019:


      In terms of research and work on a daily basis, I can honestly say that its my team and colleagues around me.

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