I attended Falkirk High School, then Forth Valley College before graduating twice from Edinburgh Napier University
I have a MSc in Biomedical Science, a BSc Hons in Microbiology and Biotechnology
I have worked as a microbiologist in a variety of industries. Types of things I have done is: Worked in an animal disease laboratory, Water industry testing water for microorganisms, pharmaceutical company. I have also worked in various 'normal' jobs such as Mcdonalds, Youth Worker and shop assistant
I am currently working as a Microbiologist in an animal disease laboratory however i previously worked as a microbiologist for Scottish Water
Favourite thing to do in my job: identifying bacteria
I currently live in central Scotland in a place called Falkirk, which is in between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I live with my dog who is a 1 year old cocker spaniel and keeps me on my toes. I enjoy science, photography and travelling.
Microbiologist at Scottish Water
As this is the water zone I shall focus on my position as a Microbiologist at Scottish Water.
My job was to test different types of water such as tap water from houses, swimming pool water, lake water and river water for certain types of bacteria that could cause sickness.
I also tested samples from waste water treatment facilities during the different stages of treatment which were often rather smelly.
To detect or find the bacteria i used special petri dishes with different kinds of agar – a sort of jelly looking food source which the bacteria eats to grow. different kinds of agar can grow different bacteria and grow in different colours. This can help microbiologists figure out what is growing in that sample.
My Typical Day
set up laboratory, check samples for microorganisms, analyse samples
A typical day would consist of arriving to laboratory and performing morning set up, this would involve using a special program to make sure that all incubators were working overnight. These are like fridges but hot which allows bacteria to grow.
I would then getting all the equipment I would need for that day and make sure that they were working and had no faults of broken parts.
I would then analyse samples from the day before to see if any bacteria had grown overnight and log results onto computer. sometimes i would need to phone public health if bad bacteria were found in tap water.
I would then spnt some time reporting results and looking under a microscope to look for different types of algae. this is a single cell microorganism that lives in water
Once all the previous nights samples had been looked at i would then collect new samples and filter the water through a device which traps bacteria onto a paper like membrane which once placed onto petri dishes with agar allows bacteria to grow.
What I'd do with the prize money
this is a good question, what do you think i should spent the prize money on
I would like to spend the money on a project that i know people would be interested in. what kind of project would you be interesting in to learn more about science and microbiology? would a school visit, a youtube video or a work visit be more interesting?
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My college lecturer inspired my passion for microbiology
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology and English
What did you want to be after you left school?
i wanted to be a forensic scientist or an architect
Were you ever in trouble at school?
i did get into trouble but mainly for not paying attention or talking too much in class
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
i think i would be an architect or a youth worker
Who is your favourite singer or band?
i dont have a favourite but i enjoy listening to lots of types of music. from 80's songs, to pop songs, rock music and sometimes classical music
What's your favourite food?
my favourite food would be hawaiian pizza with bbq base
What is the most fun thing you've done?
travelled across a glacier on a snowmobile in Iceland
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
that is a tough question, i would wish for the ability to teleport so i could teleport where ever i wanted as it would make going on holiday easier. I would also wish for the ability to make everyone happy even if they are feeling sad or down and my third wish would be for a bigger house so i could get more dogs