Touching Lives - November 2005
Meet the Researchers
What made you decide on this particular career?
As a child, I recall being fascinated by the natural world around me and constantly wondering at the complexity of living things. Science became a passion at school and it seemed to be a natural transition for me to follow a research career.
What attracted you to this area of medical research?
I wanted to apply my knowledge of ion channel biology to an important clinical problem. Ion channels are proteins in cell membranes that are increasingly being thought of as sensors detecting local changes. My early postdoctoral research in Cambridge highlighted their importance in uterine function — we now have a research programme geared towards unravelling the role of ion channels in relation to preterm delivery. Sadly, there are still no effective treatments for preventing preterm labour, which highlights the importance of carrying out basic research in this area.
Have you ever worked outside this field?
For my PhD, I worked on neuromuscular connections in the cockroach in order to understand the basic mechanisms of insect development!
What do you do in your free time?
Most of my weekends are spent with my family, dashing between football matches, swimming lessons, parties and visiting relatives. I also try to catch up with the gardening. I enjoy leisurely walks in the countryside too, particularly in Snowdonia National Park — it’s one of my favourite places for relaxation.
What was the last book you read?
‘Maps for Lost Lovers’ by Nadeem Aslam. A beautifully written novel about an Asian family settled in the UK. The book openly explores many topical issues through strong characters. I found it hard to put down.