King Edward VI Camp Hill School, Aston University
10 GCSE's, 2 A Levels, BSc in Biomedical Science, MSc in Physical Sciences for Health
Everywhere! Local Council, Banks, Building sites, Universities and Drug companies.
PhD Student in Physical Sciences
University of Birmingham
My connections to STFC science and technology:
My PhD is funded by the EPSRC
Favourite thing to do in my job: Ask questions! Everyone I work with knows so much about so many things, when I daydream about science and suddenly think, 'hang on, how does this work?' someone, somewhere will explain it to me.
I'm a PhD student interested in lots of different areas, biology, physics, chemistry, computer science and of course dinosaurs (that one's not for work, I just think they're cool)
Hello, I’m Adam,
I live with my wife in Birmingham and I have two much younger brothers who teach me about Fortnite, Love Island and all that stuff I’m too old for!
I’m a ‘mature’ PhD student, which means I did a lot of other things before coming to University, such as working in offices and on building sites, travelling abroad and working in Greece and South America. I’ve swum in the Amazon River and the Great Barrier Reef, and walked up a mountain in Peru (I don’t recommend it!).
For fun, I like to watch Sci-fi movies and race karts, pretending I’m Lewis Hamilton.
Oh and obviously I’m a big old nerd and proud of it.
I collect the little parcels that the cells in your body send to each other all the time, then I use lasers to find out what's inside. We might one day use these to make medicines.
We grow some cells in our laboratory, then collect lots of the little packages (vesicles) that they send to each other while they’re growing. We then put the packages under a laser beam, and catch the light that bounces off them.
The light that bounces back will change depending on what is in the package, for example, if the package has a lot of calcium in it, which might be good for building new bone, the light will look different to if the parcel has a lot of protein in it, which might be good for building new muscle.
If we can work out which ones are good for building bones, we can use them to make better treatments for people with weaker bones, such as older people.
My Typical Day
I make sure my cells are still alive! Feed them, collect more packages and maybe do my laser experiments. Other days I will look at the results from my previous laser work and try and work out what's going on!
I normally get into work around 8:15 and have a cup of tea while I read my emails, and chat to my friends. Then I’ll go and check on my cells, they can be very fussy! Too much heat and they die! Not enough food and they die! They’re like my pets! Some people like to talk to their cells like they do to their pets, not me though, I would never do anything that crazy 😉
After that I will collect the liquid that the cells have been growing in, and extract the packages (vesicles) by spinning the liquid extremely fast so the packages sink to the bottom. I will then put the collected packages onto my laser measuring machine, called a Raman spectroscope, which looks like a normal microscope. I will then spend hours taking lots of measurements and recording them all down to look at later.
Once that’s done I’ll have lunch.
After lunch, I will look at all the measurements I’ve recorded, do lots of calculations and graphs to see if they are telling me anything new about the packages I’m looking at.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would like to invest it in a portable demonstration microscope and other equipment so we can perform better public engagement during the University of Birmingham's many science outreach events.
I would like to invest it in a portable demonstration microscope, pre-prepared sample slides with various biological tissues and a projector, so we can perform better public engagement during the University of Birmingham’s many science outreach events.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Inquisitive, geeky, friendly
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Flown to Florida to show my work off at a meeting of thousands of other scientists.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My mum worked in a laboratory when I was very young, sometimes she'd take me with her and I would play with microscopes. I had a few nice and friendly Biology teachers that loved answering all the questions I had about gross diseases and illnesses.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology, Physics, Design and Technology.
What did you want to be after you left school?
A fighter pilot!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Haha, no comment!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
An engineer, I like seeing how things work, whether it's a laser, a microscope, or a car.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Either Arctic Monkeys or Oasis
What's your favourite food?
Curry and naan!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Travel across South America, where I got to swim in the Amazon, see Machu Pichu, eat lots of delicious food and meet lots of interesting people from all over the globe.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To be able to eat as much tasty food as I want and never get fat! 2. To be able to pause time so I could fit in all the things I want to do in a day. 3. My family to be happy.
Tell us a joke.
(This is really bad) What do you call a man with no body and just a nose? Nobody nose