Favourite Thing: My favourite part of science is dreaming up exciting experiments and making them work. I like trying new ideas because when they work you’ve discovered something new, which helps us understand diseases and make new drugs!
2009-2013. Wellcome Trust PhD student, School of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Bristol. Investigated cancer cell interactions with other cancer cells and non-cancer cells. 2005-2009. BSc (hons) Biology with Industrial Placement, University of Manchester 1998-2005. Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham 3 A Levels: Geography (A), Biology (B), Chemistry (B), AS levels: French (A), General Studies (A).
PhD (Physiology and Pharmacology), BSc (Biology with Industrial Experience)
2013-2015 . Postdoctoral research fellow, Cancer Biology, University of Nottingham. Hermes Fellowship for outreach, innovation and business engagement. 2008-2009. Faculty of Life Sciences Student Ambassador, University of Manchester. Gave guided tours of the University for students and parents. 2007-2008. Research Assistant, Boehringer Ingelheim, Austria GmbH, Vienna, Austria 2006-2007. Peer Assisted Support Scheme leader and Peer Mentor, University of Manchester. July 2005- Sep 2005. Hotel Receptionist, Eurogroup, France
2015- Project Manager and Senior Scientist at Exonate Ltd, University of Nottingham
I’m a biologist at a company I helped set up to make new drugs for eye disease, cancer, pain and diabetes
Hi! I’m Jenny. I’m 29 years old and will be 30 soon but that sounds really old! I did my undergraduate degree in biology at Manchester (with a year working in Austria) then my PhD in cell biology in Bristol. I finished my PhD 3 years ago and moved to Nottingham to try to set up my own research but then I had the chance to set up a new drugs company with my boss and that was much more exciting! I just bought a house and a small boat and I do gymnastics and sailing most weeks. Next year I’m taking part in a round the world yacht race from Brazil to South Africa!
I do biology experiments with my team to develop new drugs for eye disease, cancer, pain and diabetes.
Our chemist in Australia sends us new chemicals and our job is to work out which ones could be made into drugs (and how!) for people with diseases that are caused by too much blood vessel growth. This includes the most common types of blindness (age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular oedema, wAMD and DME!) and most cancers. We really need to make new drugs that are less expensive, work better and have less unwanted effects on people. We discovered a way to do this by blocking a protein that changes the balance of another protein called VEGF that is either harmful or protective. When we use our drugs there is more protective VEGF and less disease.
My Typical Day
My typical day is very busy, doing experiments, looking at results and helping my colleagues
In a typical day I do experiments in the lab to test new chemicals to see which ones work best and I try to understand the results. We grow cells in the lab that were donated to science 30 years ago. I also have to make sure that the rest of the team are ok and that my boss has the results and reports or presentations he needs. I have meetings with my team to talk about experiments and results and on a Friday I have a meeting with the rest of the company and the chemist to tell them what results we’ve got that week and what it means.
What I'd do with the money
I would set up a public outreach programme at Exonate
At the moment we have sixth form students visit the lab for work experience and we show them what we do and teach them experiments. We can take part in outreach activities within the University of Nottingham and the British Science Association but we don’t have an outreach programme in the company. The money would allow us to visit schools and give talks/presentations and take part in events such as British Science Week and science festivals.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Determined, organised, enthusiastic
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Training for the round the world yacht race in Sydney after a week visiting the chemistry lab
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had no idea what I wanted to do until I spent a year working abroad on drug discovery as part of my degree
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not that I can remember!
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Produced results that helped us obtain enough funding to develop new drugs ready for clinical trials
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
Research scientists at Manchester University
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. Develop a new drug to prevent blindness. 2. Become the first scientist to take part in Strictly Come Dancing. 3. Win the sailing race from Rio to Cape Town.
Tell us a joke.
You can never trust atoms – they make up everything