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22 - 30
In training or education
Broad training/education area
Route to training or education
I did A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics as I originally wanted to be a vet. I found I liked chemistry so decided to do a BSc in Biochemistry. I became interested in computer based practicals during my degree so did a MSc in Bioinformatics which I really enjoyed, and made me decide to continue with this and apply to do a PhD in computational biology.
I'm a PhD student studying computational biology. This is a 4 year full time course, and I will be writing computer programs to try to simulate the spread and loss of mutations in a particular part of DNA called ribosomal DNA. This will involve trying to explain how this might happen using a mathematical model, and comparing this to DNA sequences. This might help to understand the biological mechanism, and eventually used to compare short time scale evolutionary events.
Was the route to your training or education typical, unusual or a bit of both?
Day in life
I usually start my day by looking through any science news on Nature or Science websites, and any new journal articles that seem relevant or interesting. I spend most of my day either writing code for my program, analysing results and thinking of more experiments to run, or using others programs to generate or analyse data.
6 - Nicely happy
Life outside work
I like playing on computer games with friends, playing the flute and going to the cinema. I also manage the student website at my institute.
I am the only person in my family who does science! My dad does work related to engineering, but apart from that my mum, 2 sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins etc have done nothing STEM related. They don't really understand what I do, but they have always been encouraging and proud of me.
What attracted you to your education or training?
I really wanted to do something that I found interesting and challenged me, and that I would want to come in to every day. I love computational biology as it is very logical, I like working with computers, and it's a great feeling to solve a problem or puzzle. Understanding underlying biology and analysing data, and having context for your work is very important and rewarding. I wanted to do a PhD to enable me to hopefully work in this area and do research in future, and to do a project that I could feel I have made a contribution to.
Teacher Scientist Network
What type of scientist are you
Try out different things as there are lots of bits of science you have never considered that you might enjoy! There is loads of background information and things you can find out on the internet. Make sure that you are really enthusiastic about what you do!