Ryburn Valley High School 1981-1989, Leeds University 1989-1992, Newcastle University 1992-1996
BSc. Genetics, PhD Molecular Biology
Newcastle University 1996-2001, Sunderland University 2002- Present
Senior lecturer in Molecular Biology
University of Sunderland
Favourite thing to do in my job: To discover new things
A mixture of teaching students and laboratory work
A big chunk of my time is involved in teaching students. I teach on a biomedical science degree which is designed to train students for work in the NHS science labs where patient samples are tested to help the doctors diagnose and treat their conditions.
When I am not teaching I do some research. My main interest is in the transplantation of organs and how to make more organs available for transplant. So at the minute we are involved in a project to recondition hearts that would not normally be used for transplant. In this case the hearts are stopped and we get them going in a glass bowl connected to a blood supply and restart them and test them. It is a bizarre sight seeing a heart that had stopped start beating in a bowl by itself (with a little help from our machine!). You can see a video of the machine here on a piece shown on the local news (no heart though!)
I am also working with Durham wildlife trust to look at genetic inbreeding in adders- as part of this I was briefly on Countryfile on BBC1.
My Typical Day
A mixture of lectures, practical lab work and experimental lab work
I gives lectures and run practical classes where students do pre-designed experiments. I also supervise students doing research projects where they do experiments that have never been done before to learn how to become a scientist. I also have other more advanced students doing much bigger and longer research projects.
What I'd do with the prize money
Help scouts get their science badge
I am involved with the scouts and I think I would organise an event for scouts in the region to come to the University do do some experiments and get their science badge
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Geek, scientist, dad
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Restart a heart that had stoppped beating in a machine we made
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
A book on genetics that I didn’t really understand
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not very often
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Wierd music no one has heard of and my kids hate!
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To win the lottery, to visit Japan and to climb in the Alps
Tell us a joke.
A blowfly goes into a bar and asks: “Is that stool taken?”