Lab Manager/Research Assistant
Tell us a bit about your role
I am a Lab Manager in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG), responsible for the maintenance and running of the MRI magnets. As part of this is, I assist with experiments looking at real-time metabolic imaging of the heart. This is not just limited to my group, but several groups within DPAG and MSD. I started working for the University as a technician in Glycobiology in April 1997 and then moved to DPAG, or the Laboratory of Physiology as it was back then, in October 1997. I’ve worked for several different groups, picking up various techniques along the way, initially with Anant Parekh, then Clive Ellory, Frances Ashcroft and then I joined Damian Tyler’s group in September 2010. During my journey through the different groups I have helped many students and postdocs, even running practical classes. Having worked with so many different groups and used so many techniques, I am known locally as “the fount of all knowledge”. I know lots of people in different departments and have run samples for people from all of the University and beyond. I have also been a Parent Ambassador for STEM, run by MPLS, encouraging children at an early age, particularly girls, to enjoy science. I even helped run a workshop at the Engage conference in Bristol.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
I really enjoy helping people, especially graduate students, who come in as inexperienced scientists, and help them to grow in confidence and technical ability. I have been acknowledged in many DPhil theses over the years.
Can you tell us about something you've done or contributed to that you're most proud of?
I learned from scratch how to use and maintain a clinical chemistry analyzer called a Pentra. It is quite a tricky piece of kit and things have to be done in a specific order. There are only a few within the University that are not in a hospital setting. The person responsible for it was not in work for a few months and I sat with the manual, learned how to set it up, calibrate it, and then run samples. I created my own user guide for it and taught others how to use it or offered to run samples for people within the University and beyond.
I was also the first recipient of the Yvonne Green Team Spirit Award. This was in recognition of my work supporting not only my group, but others within DPAG.
What changes would you most like to see in the medical sciences in the next 100 years?
It would be amazing to see more women in senior roles and provide more job stability for everyone, especially those in technical roles, so not having to rely on the next grant coming in in order to keep your job. This will ensure more continuity and result in less technical skills being lost, leading to bigger and better research.