SUBJECTS STUDIED AT SCHOOL
PhD Student, University of Dundee
Master in Science – Molecular and Cellular Biology at university of Glasgow
CAREER JOURNEY SO FAR
Studied Molecular and Cellular Biology at University after school
Worked in labs in Bristol, Glasgow and Dundee during summers
Also worked at a pharmaceutical company helping to design alternatives to animal testing for 1 year
Accepted a PhD position at the University of Dundee
Once I complete my PhD working on human disease, I would like to continue to study different human diseases and continue to develop medicines.
Q&A WITH IONA
What does your company/organisation do?
We do research to understand how the molecules in the body interact with each other, and how when this goes wrong diseases can occur. Our work is important for understanding lots of different diseases and some of our work leads to new medicines being developed.
What types of activities do you do in your job?
I spend my day in a lab, working with cells and running experiments. I also give presentations about my work, write about my work for publication and attend conferences with other scientists.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
When I get to the lab, I first look after my cells to keep them healthy and growing. Then I run experiments, collect results and write up about my work. Most days I will have at least one meeting, where I will present my work, or hear about other peoples work and we come together as a team to plan what we should study next.
What are your favourite things about your job?
I love having the freedom to organize my own work, and run my own project. I’m in charge of what I do in a day. I love finding out new things and knowing I’m the first person to discover something new – every day I am excited to see the results of my experiments.
HOW IONA USES ALGEBRA AT WORK
When I am running experiments in the lab, I often need to make up solutions of chemicals. To know how much of each chemical I need to mix, I have to work this out with algebra. I also use algebra when I want to calculate how many cells to add to a new petri dish so that they will have room to grow.
To grow kidney cells in a petri dish, 1 million cells must be added. If I have a solution of 8 million cells per millilitre, how much of the solution should I add to the dish?
I need to dilute a chemical so that my new solution is at a concentration of 0.5M. I have a bottle of the chemical at a concentration of 1.8M. How much of the chemical do I need to add, and how much water, to make 1 litre?