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Spotlight: Jessica Gomez-Banderas, PhD Researcher at the University of Aberdeen

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I love astrology! I am of the star sign Pisces which is symbolized by two fish.

Tell us about your career journey so far

I studied an undergraduate Master of Chemistry degree at the University of Aberdeen. Shortly after graduating, I moved to Malta to become a Quality Control Laboratory Analyst for a Pharmaceutical company where I tested medicines before they were allowed to be sold on the market! After a year of this, I was offered to do my PhD back at the University of Aberdeen so I moved back and started exactly one year ago!

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

I loved chemistry and biology because of their relevance to everyday life. I love how chemistry can explain how everything around us works and I find the biology of plants and animals to be absolutely fascinating!

What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?

Since my PhD is chemistry-based, it is really important to have a degree in chemistry. Everything I learned during my undergraduate degree has been a great foundation of knowledge for starting my PhD research.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I love the diversity of a PhD. Some days I will be in the lab all day, other days I will be analysing data on the computer and sometimes I even help out the undergraduate students in their practical labs. Every day is different so it keeps it fun and fresh!

What is a normal day in your role like?

I head into the lab and turn on my equipment that I will need to use for the day. I then grab all of my solvents that I will need for my experiments and my samples out of the fridge so I can start extracting compounds from my marine organisms! Then I will look at the data on the computer to figure out what types of compounds these marine organisms are producing and whether any of them could have useful biological activities for medicines or be used in industry.

Suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

One of my favourite kitchen science experiments is kitchen chromatography. Chromatography shows how different components of a mixture can be separated using a liquid and a solid phase. Here's a link on how to do kitchen chromatography from home:


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