2004 – 2007 University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience; 2008 – 2012 University Of Oxford, DPhil in Pharmacology
BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience; PhD in Pharmacology.
2013 – 2015 Universidad Catolica de Santiago, Chile, Postdoctoral Scientist. 2015 – present University of Oxford, postdoctoral neuroscientist
University of Oxford, Wellcome Trust.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Looking at brain cells down microscopes
I love learning new things, I love making/building things, and I have recently become obsessed with scuba diving.
I live in the beautiful old city of Oxford. I share a house with a friend of mine, he has a great sense of humour and we laugh a lot. I have always been really interested in science, or rather just by life and the world, I always want to know how things work and why. I was born in Kenya and grew up there, I miss the sunshine and the avocados.
My first experience with being a scientist was when I was about 10 and I was given a microscope and I could look at feathers and bugs!
When I am not working I love to travel. I learned to scuba dive recently and I now want to go and dive all over the world.
To understand the way that brain cells are connected to each other.
One of the challenges of studying the brain is that there are billions of brain cells (neurons) all connected to each other in a very complicated way. My job is looking at different parts of the brain and examining how the different types of brain cells are connected; so that we can understand a little more about how the brain works, and what changes happen in disease.
My Typical Day
I get up, drink a lot of coffee, cycle to work. Then my day can be very different, I use microscopes to look at connections between brain cells, I also do teaching and I supervise students in lab projects. No day is ever the same.
I am not a morning person so I have a few coffees before doing anything or talking to anyone. I cycle to work everyday through a really pretty park which also helps me to wake up! Here is my beautiful bike
I also train other people in the lab, research technicians and students, to do experiments or to use microscopes. Then I also often have to do some teaching, I teach medical students about neuroscience. I enjoy all of these things and there is never enough time to get bored!
What I'd do with the prize money
I would use the money to host secondary school students for a summer lab placement.
I think that providing students with an experience of what it would be like to work in science is really important. I’m enthusiastic about encouraging students to work in science subjects as it is hard to get an idea of what that would be like when you’re in school.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Adventurous, nerdy and optimistic.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Tough one – probably discovering connections between different brain cells that we did not know about before
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I became totally fascinated by neuroscience in university and decided to pursue it.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes! Quite a few times!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
When I was young I wanted to be an architect. Or an astronaut (so cool!).
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Can’t choose – I love music and I listen to a bit of everything.
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. Endless wishes. 2. To understand how the brain works. 3. To be able to travel the world.
Tell us a joke.
What did the cheese say to itself in the mirror – HALLOUMI