The University of Manchester, Lancaster University, Fairfield High School for Girls
PhD (Neuroscience), Honours Degree (2.1) (Biological Sciences), 5 'A' Levels in Biology (A), History (A), English Literature (A), Chemistry (B), General Studies (A), 11 GCSE's (1 A* and 10 A's)
The University of Manchester (2012 - now), National Institute of Health Research (2011 - 2014), Camp Hilltop, New York(!)
The University of Manchester
Favourite thing to do in my job: Think about the things we don't know, and work out how to find them out!
I'm a happy, outdoorsy person who loves dogs!
I live in the hills outside of Manchester with my family – I have two Children – Ghillie, age 4 and Flora, age 2. I also have two dogs called Sam and Ruby – Sam only has 3 legs!
I love being outdoors, and I love animals. My favourite food is chocolate – obviously!! My favourite place to go on holiday is Disney World in Florida – last year we ended up in a big Hurricane!
I know all the words in The very Hungry Caterpillar off by heart – I also know all the words to all the songs in Frozen 🙂
I research all about the health of our minds (mental health)
I do research about mental health – that is all about our feelings, our emotions, our thoughts and our moods. Mental health is just as important as our physical health, even though you cant see it. Sometimes peoples mental health can affect how they get on in their lives, and they need to get help from doctors and nurses. Part of my work is about how doctors and nurses help people, and working out new ways of helping that can work better for people.
I am also very interested in how animals can help people with mental health problems and have done some work finding out how pets can be important for helping people.
One of the other things I do is involve patients in in our research so that we know we are researching the right things. I also get involved in things like flashmobs to tell people about our work – I danced all around Manchester a while ago in a big group, you can watch us here: 🙂
My Typical Day
After taking my children to nursery and school, I usually go to my office at the University and do lots of different things like interviewing patients, writing about our work, giving talks to people at meetings. No two days are the same!
I do lots of different things day to day in my job; it depends what stage of a research project we are at. If we are at the beginning of a project, I might spend a lot of time speaking to patients, doctors and nurses and other health professionals while I collect data – information for the project. Sometimes I see people at the University and sometimes I get to travel around to different towns and cities.
If we are in the middle of a project I might spend more days at my computer in my office or working at home analysing the data – that means making sense of the information that I have collected.
Towards the end of the project I will do lots of different things to share what we have found – I might be writing papers – that’s how we explain what we have done and what we have found. I might also go to conferences and meetings to tell people about our work. We also do fun things like create cartoons for YouTube to tell the public about our work, like this one here:
What I'd do with the prize money
Organise an event with some dogs!
I would like to organise an event to tell people about our work about pets and mental health. If possible, I would like to involve Manchester Dogs Home, who have done work with our University in the past, and invite people to come along to meet the dogs and hear about some of the things pets can offer to people who have problems with their mental health.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly, silly, kind.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Getting my PhD - I was the first person in my family to go to University and now I'm a Dr!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I have always loved science and discovering things, and I really care about mental health - thats about it!
What was your favourite subject at school?
Id like to say Science but it was actually Geography...
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No I was very good - I got called a swot but look where I am now :-)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would love to open an animal sanctuary
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I dont think I have one - I'm a bit uncool...
What's your favourite food?
Chocolate, ice cream, sweets - anything with sugar...
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Taking my children to Disney World - just the best..
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. Move to the Highlands of Scotland 2. Open an animal sanctuary 3. Live happily ever after with my family and lots of rescued animals
Tell us a joke.
What was the first animal to go into space? The cow that jumped over the moon :-)