Education:Colytn Grammar School, University of Sheffield, University of Strathclyde, University of Manchester
Qualifications:BSc Biomedical Science, MSc Forensic Science, MSc Clinical Bioinformatics
Work History:Forensic Science Service (Solihull & Abu Dhabi), Orchid Cellmark (Abu Dhabi), Key Forensic Services (Norwich), First Databank (Exeter), Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Molecular Genetics Department
Clinical Scientist in Bioinformatics - Genomics
Favourite thing to do in my job: Searching patients' DNA to find causes for disease
I'm a Clinical Bioinformatician in a hospital in Devon
I live near Exeter in Devon with my fiancé and two cats. I work in a hospital molecular genetics department and I love my job as every day is different and I search through DNA with the help of computers for what might be only a single letter change in 3 billion letters that might be causing a patients’ disease or disorder.
I went to University and studied Biomedical Science, then Forensic Science and worked as a forensic scientist for several years before retraining in Clinical Bioinformatics. I really enjoyed working in forensics but my current job is much more varied and I learn new things about genetics and programming every day, I also know that the work I do helps people affected by a genetic diseases.
I didn’t even know what a Clinical Bioinformatician was until 4 years ago and now after a 3-year NHS-funded training course, I have the most interesting job that helps people AND I get to do programming everyday!
Analysing patients' DNA to look for causes of disease using computer programming and data analysis
My role mainly involves sitting at a computer all day, running computer programs and searching through lots of information to try and find the cause of a patients’ disease or disorder. However, each day is different as there are lots of patients with different diseases, sometimes the computer programs need extra development or other days I’m helping teach other people what I do.
We sometimes have urgent samples come in where we know the possible result from the test might affect the treatment a patient receives, and we work as quickly as we can to get the results out for the doctor.
We work really closely with those in the laboratory that extract the DNA from the patients’ sample and generate the DNA sequence and the genetic counsellors and doctors that discuss the results with the patients.
My Typical Day
Every single day is different - but most are spent in front of a computer.
What I'd do with the prize money
Provide short programming quizzes using biological data
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Determined, kind and organised
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
A television programme with a lead female scientist
What was your favourite subject at school?
I liked most subjects (but physics was hardest!)
What did you want to be after you left school?
A vet, and then a forensic scientist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Any type of pasta with lots of sauce
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Living in Abu Dhabi as part of my job for 18 months