I live with my family in Staffordshire. I’m a Cancer Biologist & Health Psychology professional and I work as a Lecturer for The Open University.
I love to cook, watch films and spend time with our 2 dogs, and support our 2 children in their sports endeavors (netball, football & hockey).
I used to do athletics when I was younger and now try to keep active by going running and keeping the dogs entertained. Because I have to read a lot of academic and scientific literature for work, I quite enjoy a fashion or travel magazine and a good cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit or slice of cake :-).
My pronouns are:
I’m a Cancer Biologist and Psychologist. My research looks at new treatment options for cancer and interventions to support and improve health and wellbeing in general.
I did my PhD in Cancer Biology, focussing on translating basic research findings into treatments that could ultimately reach patients in the clinics. This is an area of research called Translational Science. I subsequently spent many years working in Clinical Trial Research affiliated with a large University Hospital.
Many illnesses/diseases or developmental conditions have a genetic basis that either explain an individual’s developmental limitations and/or determine or increase the risk of developing a disease (including cancer) at some point in the future. However, we have come to know that environmental conditions also play a huge role in determining the extent of such ‘risks’, this is often referred to as the balance between nature (genes) and nurture (environment).
My current work largely involves using both my professional management experience and my academic knowledge base and scientific research experience to ensure that the courses and qualifications provided by The Open University remain current and incorporate state-of-the-art understanding and developments within my field of expertise.
My Typical Day:
I get up just after 7am and get my daughter ready for school and do the school drop off. I then feed the dogs and take them for a quick walk before starting work around 9-10am. I work from home most days but do spend 1-2 days per month on campus in Milton Keynes or visiting research locations or collaborators on-site. I try to take a proper break over lunch but frequently end up attending lunchtime lectures or talks and typically end up working around 4-5pm (with tea breaks in between). On days where I am giving lectures/tutorials myself, I may be online again from 7-9pm or on a Saturday at 10-12am.
My day-to-day work involves supervising a number of Associate Lecturers who teach on our courses in Life, Health and Chemical Sciences, dealing with student queries and complaints, developing new course materials, discussing shared issues and challenges with colleagues and attending management meetings. I am also engaged in research activities and disseminating scientific knowledge. I recently co-published an article on the potential use of natural marine products in prostate cancer treatment. In terms of active research, at the moment we are looking into the support and wellbeing needs of patients with non-smoking-related non-small cell lung cancer and their caregivers. People with non-smoking-related lung cancers typically develop cancers due to genetic mutations of 2 key genes, namely the gene for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the gene for the Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) rather than exposure to irritants such as smoke or other pollutants like asbestos.
What I'd do with the prize money:
Organise an event which explains and brings to life a common disease/pathology and highlights challenges/implications for society, policymakers, researchers and medical professionals and thereby provides the public a platform to engage with and direct queries to various stakeholders in order to increase knowledge exchange for all parties involved.
I initially went to school abroad/outside of the UK.
I was born in Switzerland, then spent most of my primary school years in the USA (New Jersey) before returning to Switzerland. I then studied for various parts of my degree studies at the University of Zurich, Switzerland; Imperial College, London; The Open University, UK; Birkbeck College, London; and Ulster University, Northern Ireland.
- BSc in Natural Sciences (first class honours)
- MSc in Medical Science (with distinction)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Protein Crystallography (with distinction)
- PhD in Cancer Biology
- BSc in Psychology (first class honours)
- MSc in Health Psychology (with distinction)
- Laboratory Technician Tissue Engineering, ETH Zurich
- Laboratory Technician Cardiotoxicity Research, University Hospital Berne, Switzerland
- PA in Project Management, Alstom Power
- Assistant Manager – Information Systems, ABB Group
- Communications & Human Resources Manager, ABB Group
- Head of Global Trainee Programmes, ABB Group
- PhD Student / Associate Lecturer in Biophysics, ETH Zurich
- Teacher in primary/secondary schools for English & Biology, Switzerland
- Postdoctoral Researcher in Cancer Biology, PSI/ETH Zurich
- Research Associate/Assistant Psychologist in Health Psychology, Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich
- Senior Clinical Research Associate & Clinical Data Manager, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland
- Deputy Head of Clinical Data Management, Clinical Trials Centre, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland
- Associate Lecturer Psychology, The Open University
Teaching Fellow & Lecturer in Biomedical/Health Sciences & Psychology
The Open University
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Another tricky one, there are so many options but if I had to start over I might go into medicine.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I prefer a mix of music, both current and then more 80s/90s classics :-)
What's your favourite food?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
More free time, a 'magic spell' for tidying/cleaning, breakthrough discovery in biomedical field.
Tell us a joke.
This is not my forte - here we go: Why didn’t anyone want the biologist’s new book? It was a hard cell.