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Making A Scientist
Making A Scientist
The podcast with cutting edge science and all the life/work advice you'll ever need to succeed! Brought alive by brilliant scientists; Hosted by Alex Ainscough
Jul 28, 2021
Organs-On-Chips In Space - The Making of Dr Lucie Low
We made it all the way to the series finale!! And what an AMAZING episode this is! This week, my guest is Dr. Lucie Low, Scientific Program Director of the Tissue Chips for Drug Screening Program at the National Institute of Health which encompasses programs of work such as the Tissue Chips for Disease Modelling and Tissue Chips in Space. Organs-on-chips or tissue chips are some of the hottest tools in the biosciences right now. In this episode, find out what they are, how they have immense potential to deliver huge benefits for patients and to alleviate some of the ethical concerns of animal research by offering an alternative (and perhaps better) way of testing new drugs, cosmetics or even running clinical trials without causing any harm to animals or humans. Lucie and I also discuss how organs-on-chips are being used in experiments carried out aboard the international space station, and some of the challenges associated with carrying out biological research in space. We will also hear all about Lucie’s career path, how she made the decisions she did and hear her incredible advice for early career researchers. I know I say this every time, but this really is a truly brilliant episode!
1 hr 19 min
Jul 21, 2021
Training the Next Generation of Scientists - The Making of Dr Garrick Wilson
If it were down to you, how would you train the next generation of scientists and doctors? This week, my guest is Dr Garrick Wilson who is the Convergence Science PhD training program manager at the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre. This is a man whose job is to literally ask: How do you make a scientist? In this episode, Garrick shares his thoughts and opinions on how to develop the next generation of scientists and what to look for in a prospective mentor. He also recounts how he felt during his PhD interview, gives some incredible interview advice and gives us a flavour of what life was like growing up in Jamaica before moving to the UK to study. Garrick gives very personal accounts of his thoughts and feelings at various points throughout his career. The episode is brimming full of amazing advice and it is a genuine pleasure to be able to share it. The advice in this episode is so good, I couldn't bring myself to cut anything! Enjoy!
2 hr 10 min
Jul 14, 2021
Being A Clinical Academic - The Making of Professor Justin Mason
What is it like to be a clinical academic researcher? To explore this, I am joined this week by Professor Justin Mason, a Professor of Vascular Rheumatology at Imperial College London. Justin is an incredibly distinguished academic who runs both a highly successful research group and a large vessel vasculitis clinic at Hammersmith hospital. This week is a brilliant episode - featuring an overview of Justin's cutting edge research, some amazing personal stories from throughout his career, and of course some fantastic advice for early career researchers. We really do dive in deep and discuss a lot! Including: how Justin first became interested in immunology as a junior doctor, his research aims in rheumatology and some incredible stories of how he conducted his research in Africa and London - which features radioactive pigs and some unorthodox (but very effective) methods of storing and shipping samples back to London. Some amazing stories - be sure to tune in and subscribe!
1 hr 22 min
Jul 7, 2021
Sounding Out Biomedical Research - The Making of Dr James Armstrong
We have all felt the bass pulsing through us in a nightclub, but how can sound be leveraged as a biological research tool? This week, my guest is Dr James Armstrong, who is a Research Fellow in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. James is an outstanding early career academic and has published research papers in fields such as ultrasound manipulation, tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting. During the pandemic, James also organised the highly successful virtual seminars in biomedical science - bringing together researchers in the biomedical community from the across the world. He is also an incredible mentor, and has been awarded the Imperial College President’s medal for Outstanding Assistant Supervisor. In this episode, we discuss how James is currently using ultrasound as a biological research tool and the potential future applications this can have! We also discuss James’ career path and all of the brilliant advice that he was either given or wishes he would have heard much sooner in his career. Since recording this podcast, James has accepted a position at the University of Bristol to set up his own independent research group focused on engineering complex living systems and he is looking for PhD students and postdocs to join him - if you are interested you can find out more by visiting www.TheArmstrongGroup.co.uk
1 hr 11 min
Jun 29, 2021
Long Covid & Public Health - The Making of Dr Nisreen Alwan
Good public health measures seem like an overreaction - because nothing happens! This week my guest is Dr Nisreen Alwan, who is an associate professor in Public Health at the University of Southampton. Nisreen is an incredible role model and was named amongst other inspiring and influential women from around the world in the BBC 100 Women 2020 list. She was also awarded an MBE in the 2021 NY honours list for services to Medicine and Public Health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode we discuss all about Nisreen's research into the health and wellbeing of women and children, where she specialises on pregnancy. We also talk all about long covid, what it is like to be a prominent figure on twitter, Nisreen’s career path and her golden advice for early career researchers. This is such a brilliant episode - dive in!
Jun 23, 2021
Grants and Grant Funding Advice For ECRs - The Making of Professor Giovanni Mann
How do you get that very first grant as an early career researcher? What goes on behind the scenes from the perspective of grant writing? This week, my guest is Professor Giovanni Mann who is a Professor of Vascular Physiology at King’s College London. Giovanni has served as President of multiple learned societies and has been on the panels for many esteemed funding bodies including the British Heart Foundation. In this episode, hear Giovanni’s advice about grants and grant funding for early career researchers. We also discuss Giovanni’s path through the American university system where he initially studied zoology, before he moved to the UK to pursue doctoral and postdoctoral studies in Physiology before becoming a Professor. There are a lot of brilliant nuggets of advice dotted throughout this interview, so keep your ears peeled!
Jun 16, 2021
Pulmonary Hypertension & The Challenges of Academia - The Making of Dr Vahitha Abdul Salam
This week, my guest is Dr Vahitha Abdul Salam who is a Lecturer in Vascular Pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Before moving to the UK over 15 years ago, Vahitha received a gold medal for finishing with the top national scores in her undergrad in Malaysia. She then worked as a clinical pharmacist and once participated in police raids of suspected drug smugglers until a close advisor suggested she pursue further study as a PhD student. In this episode, Vahitha and I discuss all about a condition called Pulmonary Hypertension, proteomics and the Role of Chlorine and Chloride Channels in disease. Vahitha speaks very candidly about the challenges she has faced to raise a family whilst juggling an academic position, and gives the advice she wishes she would have heard before starting a family. We also discuss what it means to be established in academia, the charity work Vahitha does and her advice to any budding young scientists!
1 hr 9 min
Jun 9, 2021
'Rial Talk - The Making of Dr Anna Ploszajski
How are things made? What is it about certain materials that produces emotions and makes you feel good? My guest this week is Dr Anna Por-shy-ski, an award-winning materials scientist, fellow science communicator, ultramarathon swimmer, part time stand up comic and a newly published first time author with her debut book, handmade. In this episode, Anna and I discuss all things materials including the different types of materials, what it means to be a smart material, examples of smart materials that naturally occur in nature and much much more. We also discuss Anna’s career path and how her experiences of academia have led her to explore career options beyond the academic track. Anna is a general all-round rising star and I am sure we will all be seeing her presenting science on our living room TV screens in no time!
1 hr 34 min
Jun 2, 2021
Jumping Into Hack-tion - The Making of Dr David Miller
A Hacker is not just a hooded figure behind a computer screen! This week, my guest is Dr David Miller who is a resident hack fellow at the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace. Originally from NZ, he moved to and from opposite sides of the world through various academic posts before settling into his role as a Hackspace Fellow. As a resident hacker, David’s job is to use alternative and sometimes unconventional approaches to solve all manner of multidisciplinary problems encompassing engineering, chemistry, electronics, materials science, physics and beyond. In this episode, hear how David came across this role after becoming frustrated with the constraints of academia and hear examples of how he is able to be creative as a hacker. If you find yourself struggling with a research project and not sure how to bring it to life - hackers are on hand to help.
1 hr 13 min
May 26, 2021
*Scientific* Writings On The Wall - The Making Of Dr Vicky Sherwood
Do you want to stay in science but don’t want an academic career? This week, I am joined by Dr Vicky Sherwood - an expert scientific writer in clinical research at Novartis. Vicky also runs @biomedbadass, a space for early career researchers to gain an understanding of alternative scientific careers in industry. In this episode, Vicky and I discuss the options available to anybody interested in a prospective career in Scientific Writing and all about her experiences working in industry. We also discuss Vicky's career path, including how she transitioned from an academic PI working in skin cancer to industry and how the financial crisis of 2008 impacted research funding opportunities - a similar climate to which we find ourselves in today. For anybody wondering what a career as a scientific writer involves - you NEED to listen to this episode!
1 hr 29 min
May 19, 2021
There's "Genome" Place Like Home - The Making Of Dr Mick Jones
This week, my guest is Dr Mick Jones, who is a Reader in Molecular Medicine at Imperial College London. Mick spent his career working in Genome Analysis, and was one of the early researchers in DNA sequencing, Cloning and Protein Chemistry. Mick’s career has been fascinating - he had the opportunity to work in 2 separate groups where the group leaders subsequently went on to win Nobel prizes, however he stayed true to himself and followed the work that he was really passionate about. He later rubbed shoulders with many other Nobel prize winning scientists, including Fred Sanger and Aaron Klug. This is one of the most deeply honest and thorough interviews from one of the most brilliant and humble researchers I know. Mick gives a whole load of incredible advice and discusses the various decision he made during his career, including about when he moved to Denmark for couple of years. All that money spent on Danish lessons and he still can’t speak the language! He tells the story mu…
1 hr 36 min
May 5, 2021
Malaria & Blood Cancer - The Making of Dr Faith Uwadiae
This week, my guest is Dr Faith Uwadiae who is a Post-Doctoral Immunologist at The Francis Crick Institute. Faith’s work investigates the mechanisms that link a rare cancer called Burkitt’s Lymphoma with Malaria. Hear all about Faith’s unconventional path to #PhD, her outreach work, her work on diversity in #STEM and becoming an amateur brewer during lockdown! This was an incredibly enjoyable conversation for me - I wish I could have heard Faith’s advice a lot sooner in my PhD! Hopefully you will take something really useful away from this podcast!
1 hr 11 min
Apr 21, 2021
May the Force Be With You - The Making of Dr Matt Walker
This week my guest is Dr Matthew Walker, who is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the centre for cellular microenvironment at the University of Glasgow. In this episode, hear all about Mechanobiology. This includes HOW cells are sensitive, what this actually means and why cell sensitivity is important within the different organs and tissues in our body. Matt gives an excellent overview the latest tools and technologies that are used to research mechanobiology. He also recounts his path from his Barnsley beginnings up until present, providing insight as to the choices that he needed to make.
1 hr 6 min
Apr 7, 2021
RNA Vaccines & Respiratory Viruses - The Making of Dr John Tregoning
This week, my guest is Dr John Tregoning who is a Reader (associate professor) in Respiratory Infections in the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London. In this episode, hear all about RNA vaccines, what they are, how work in the body, how they are being used to combat covid and how this technology can be leveraged in future to tackle other major global health problems. John is a scientist I really admire. He is very focused on the idea of making academia more accessible and fair and provides regular honest views and opinions on this through his science blog, which I would strongly encourage you to check out, and is also a regular columnist for nature careers.
1 hr 18 min
Mar 23, 2021
Mending Broken Hearts - The Making of Professor Sian Harding
This week, my guest is Professor Sian Harding, who is a Professor of Cardiac Pharmacology at the NHLI, Imperial College London. She is the Director of the BHF Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Centre and is also Campus Director, Hammersmith/White City. She is also one of the worlds leading experts on Broken Heart Syndrome. Sian is London born and bred and gives a deeply honest account of her experiences, which is very humbling from a scientist at the top of her field. In this episode, hear Sian and I discuss Broken Heart syndrome, Hearts out of sync and Artificial Hearts. Sian tells us all about her path to professor, discusses what it is like as a working parent and highlights how interfacing with the arts has been influential in her creative thinking process.
Mar 7, 2021
The Clot Thickens - The Making of Dr Tom McKinnon
Our very first episode explores the life of Dr Tom McKinnon, Senior Lecturer in Immunology and Inflammation at Imperial College London. Tom shares some brilliant, hilarious and thoughtful stories about his journey in science, dating right back from his schooldays to provide an inside view on the decision processes he made at each stage of his career. A truly fascinating conversation!