Thanks for all your great questions over the past 2 weeks!
Piggott CE School, Reading (1997-2004), University of Manchester (2004-2008), University of Nottingham (2008-2011)
Masters in Physics (MPhys) and a doctorate (PhD)
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham
Favourite thing to do in my job: Looking at images on the MRI scanner and remembering “that’s inside someone’s head!”
I want to see how the brain acts when we change its surroundings.
I do brain imaging to see how big certain parts of the brain are, where they are connected to, and which parts of are working when a person does certain things. I want to understand how, for example, a drug changes how the brain works. At the moment, I am working on how deaf people grow up with different brains to hearing people. I want to be able to use those differences to understand more about the treatments we use for deafness, such as cochlear implants.
My Typical Day
I work with computers and brain imaging scanners – I meet people, image their brain and then look at their data.
I don’t really have a typical day. I spend time meeting people, sometimes deaf people, sometimes I need to use a British Sign Language interpreter to speak to them. Then I will ask them to lie down in the MRI scanner so that I can take pictures of their brain. Then I look through the data and use computers and maths to understand what is going on in their brain. Some days I work with computers all day to look at pictures of brains. When I have a large enough amount of pictures then I can compare across different people and if I find something interesting then I will write a report about it and send it to other scientists.
What I'd do with the prize money
I want to organise events to engage deaf people in scientific research.
Many profoundly deaf people use British Sign Language to communicate. Therefore most events aiming to engage the general public in science are not well suited to them, even with the help of an interpreter, and many of the leaflets etc. that we hand out to the public are not very easy to understand. Last year, I organised an event to showcase scientific research for deaf people. We had several British Sign Language interpreters, and made all the information accessible to deaf people. The event was a great success and we all enjoyed it, but we don’t have enough money to do it again because interpreters are expensive, and an event like this takes a lot of time and organisation. I really want to make this event happen every year!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Want more knowledge!
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I travelled to Japan for 2 months to share my work and experiences with people there at the same time as learning about how they do things.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Baroness Susan Greenfield
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Sometimes – I was always getting told off for chatting and giggling in class!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I’d like to work in politics, making sure that their policies are based on science.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Scouting for Girls
What's your favourite food?
Indian food and Chinese food
What is the most fun thing you've done?
When I was at a meeting in California I went jet skiing on Lake Tahoe!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish that I will always enjoy my job, I wish for a healthy family and I wish to be able to travel the world.
Tell us a joke.
How do you know an elephant has been in the fridge? Footprints in the butter!