Senior Postdoctoral Researcher
Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences
Tell us a bit about your role
My main area of research is to investigate the interactions between bone marrow fat cells and tumour cells in the establishment and progression of multiple myeloma. I am also the manager of the Bone Oncology lab as well as a supervisor for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
My journey to where I am now was both long and hard. I had my first child just after my 18th birthday and so because of this I was not able to finish my sixth form education. I then married and had two more children. When my youngest child was 5 years old, I took a job as a Science Technician at a local high school. After a few months of working there, the Head of Department asked me if I had ever thought of teaching. This encouragement gave me the courage to go back to my education. I completed my secondary education and went on to do a degree with The Open University. I completed my degree with first class honours in under 4 years, holding down a part time job and raising my children. I then came to work at Oxford as a Technician. Soon after I started my position, I took on extra work within the department and through this, my supervisor suggested that I apply for a DPhil position. I was extremely fortunate to be offered a position in Surgical Sciences where I completed my studies in 2013. From there I went to work as a postdoc at NDORMS for a year before returning to Surgical Sciences to take up a position as a postdoc in the bone oncology group, where I have remained for the last 6 years. I am now an experienced scientist; I am involved in several committees within Medical Sciences and I take great joy in sharing my expertise with students and newly qualified postdocs. I hope that I am a good role model within the department and the Medical Sciences Division.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
My research is the most meaningful aspect of my work. I am very proud to work within a strong and supportive group. I believe that you can achieve a lot on your own, but working as a team allows you to achieve so much more. I also believe that it is important to support and encourage our up-and-coming generation of scientists.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
In 2017, I set up a departmental work experience programme to offer sixth form pupils an opportunity to visit the department and shadow/speak to different members of the department about their experiences in science and medicine. This programme gave priority to under-represented groups. It was a huge success and is still running within the department today.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
The culture in academia is that you can never stay in one place for long or you are regarded as a failure if you do not move into a PI position. I would like to see positions created within the Division that would allow scientists to stay in one place and to grow their technical expertise without being made to feel that they are not achieving. It is important as a community that we support and encourage people as they move onwards and upwards. However, I would like to see more recognition for those who work hard in the background who may not necessarily want to move upwards but who work tirelessly to ensure that research moves forward.