Favourite Thing: I am curious by nature and I love the process of applying science methods to try and understand complex chronic diseases. I also love working with lots of different people and traveling to attend conferences.
All my schooling has been in Australia: Bega High School, the Australian National University (2005-2008 and again from 2012-2015), and the University of Queensland (2010-2012)
Bachelor of Science (majoring in cellular and molecular biology, and genetics), Masters in Epidemiology, PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health
My very first job was working as a shop assistant in a bakery (a chain store called ‘Bakers Delight’ in Australia) while I was in high school. While I was at university I had jobs working as a retail assistant in shops and as a waitress at cafes. My first professional job was as a civil servant in the Australian Federal Government.
Research Associate in Epidemiology
University of Cambridge
I am a population health scientist who is fascinated by diseases
I am originally from Canberra, Australia and moved to the UK a year and a half ago for work. Up until I moved here, I had never traveled to Europe before. I now live in Cambridge with my partner who is also from Australia. In my spare time I love reading books (especially detective stories), watching sci fi tv shows and movies, and traveling. In the last 14 months I have traveled to 8 different European countries and I have plans to visit another 3 plus the US before the end of the year.
I investigate patterns and causes of diseases such as heart attacks
I spend most of my time investigating patterns and causes of diseases such as heart disease. The main project I am currently working on involves using lots of big datasests to find ways of predicting who is mostly likely to develop heart disease in the future. This sounds a little bit like gazing into a crystal ball but it’s not! What we actually do is use information from lots of different people (thousands and sometimes millions of people) about their lifestyles, behaviours and diseases. We can then use statistical methods to help understand the link between different lifestyles and behaviors (such as how much you exercise) and how likely you are to develop heart disease.
My Typical Day
My typical day consists of analysing lots of information, reading,writing and chatting with work colleagues.
I like to work earlier in the day so my typical work day starts between 7:45 and 8 AM. I do research that involves analysing really big datasets but I don’t work in a lab. This means that I spend most of my day at my desk working on a computer. A couple of times a week I meet with other people to discuss projects we are working on. I am lucky that I get to work on lots of different projects so the exact thing I do each day is varied. In a typical day I would spend a lot of time writing code to run statistical analyses and I would spend my remaining time writing science papers and reading.
What I'd do with the money
Organise school workshops to talk about the human heart and the diseases that can affect it
If I was awarded the money I would work with our outreach team to develop workshops to be given at local schools (in the Cambridgeshire area) to talk about how the human heart works, how diseases such as heart disease can develop and most importantly, what we can do to prevent heart disease. I would plan to spend some of the money on buying models of the human heart that I can take to schools so that students can play with the models themselves. The rest of the money would likely be spent on materials to run some creative activities during the workshops.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, quirky, argumentative (hopefully in a good way)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I don’t have an all-time favourite but I currently really like ‘Art vs Science’
What's your favourite food?
Almost anything Italian (mmm, pizza and lasagne!) and chocolate!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What was your favourite subject at school?
Math and biology
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
Nothing in particular, I’ve always been fascinated by diseases and wanted to understand how and why they develop
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Ideally, a writer