Photo:

William Davies

Evicted, doh! Had a great time, enjoyed the experience etc. Good luck to Jo and Fi!

Favourite Thing: Go to conferences in exotic places to discuss cutting edge research with intelligent like-minded people

My CV

School:

Hulme Grammar School for Boys, Oldham (1988-1995)

University:

Masters in Biochemistry at Bath University (1995-1999), PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience, Cambridge University (1999-2003)

Work History:

Babraham Institute, Cambridge (2003-2006), Cardiff University (2006-present)

Employer:

Cardiff University

Current Job:

I am currently an RCUK Fellow in Translational Research in Experimental Medicine

Me and my work

I am trying to work out why male and female brains develop differently with a view to understanding why the sexes are vulnerable to different sorts of mental disorders

I work in the field of behavioural and psychiatric genetics, with my main research being to understand how genes on the sex chromosomes (the X and Y) might influence brain development and function differently in men and women. To address this question, my work examines a variety of species including mice, rats and humans. Ultimately, I hope that my work will help us understand why men and women are differentially vulnerable to particular mental disorders (for example autism and ADHD are much more common in males than females, whereas unipolar depression is more common in women), and will enable the development of more effective sex-specific therapies for these disorders.

My Typical Day

Coffee, check e-mails, speak with my postdoc/students about their work and try to solve any problems, do some writing (papers/funding applications), read latest relevant scientific papers, go home to my family

I generally arrive at work about 9am, and have a strong cup of coffee whilst I check my e-mails. I’ll then have meetings with my postdoc and students to discuss their latest results and to try and solve and problems they might be having (or at least to give advice). I’ll also occasionally meet with collaborators who might be able to help me with my work. I’ll then do some writing (generally writing up previous data, applying for money to do some exciting new research, or sorting out licences to perform ongoing studies). At the end of the day, I’ll catch up on any interesting new developments which are relevant to my research by checking publication databases, important journals such as Nature and Science, or by looking on the BBC news website.

What I'd do with the money

I’d organise a screening of a film with some scientific content at a local cinema, to be followed by a scientific discussion with an expert panel about the issues raised

Our Centre has recently started a project known as SciScreen, in which films covering various scientific issues are shown at a local cinema. The audience are then invited to discuss the scientific issues raised in the film with an expert panel. This scheme has been remarkably successful to date, but we need money to hire the cinema and for advertising – the money from I’m a Scientist would come in extremely handy!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Rock n roll

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Iron Maiden

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Get married (last week)

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Live to see my grandchildren grow up, to become a Professor, and to keep enjoying life as much as I am at the moment

What did you want to be after you left school?

Sadly enough, a scientist

Were you ever in trouble at school?

I was once (wrongly) accused of talking in class and got lines – still bitter about it!

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

All expenses paid trip to New York to give a 20 minute talk

Tell us a joke.

I saw a native Australian the other day playing ‘Dancing Queen’ on the didgeridoo – I thought to myself ‘Hmm, that’s Aboriginal…’