My name is Ed and I am in my sixth year of a part-time PhD in the School of Cancer Sciences at Birmingham University.
What do you do?
As well as carrying out work towards my PhD, I am also the technician in our laboratory, whose research focuses on how human cells repair DNA. Our DNA is subjected to numerous endogenous (within the cell) and exogenous (outside the cell) stresses capable of causing DNA single strand breaks and double strand breaks. Luckily cells have evolved a number of mechanisms to both detect and repair these breaks. If these breaks are not repaired they can result in genomic instability and cancer predisposition. For this reason understanding these pathways can give insight to how cells can potentially become cancerous and expose potential targets in novel anti-cancer treatments.
I am particularly interested in a protein called CK2, an activater of other proteins involved in a large number of cellular pathways. Recent evidence has emerged to suggest Ck2 has a role in the repair of DNA. My PhD project hopes to identify further roles of this protein within the cells DNA damage response.
Outside your research field what other science are you interested in?
I enjoy all aspects of science, well maybe not chemistry! The research I do tends to focus on one, all be it very complex, aspect of cell biology. Therefore I like to keep abreast of current scientific work by reading various journals and websites. My main interest is genetics and evolution, but my attention is often drawn to other science disciplines.
What else are you interested in?
Linked to my work I have a great interest in science public engagement and my time at the School of Cancer Sciences has presented plenty of opportunity for me to pursue this interest. Outside of the lab, I play guitar, and enjoy reading and watching films.
What event/lecture are you most looking forward to at the British Science Festival?
I’m really looking forward to attending “Active Learning in Science” and “Developing Science Talent in the UK”, as communicating science is an activity I really enjoy. I’m also looking forward to attending “Science misadventures: daring demos and science stunts”, which I hope will give me some inspiration for future public engagement events. Lastly just to satisfy my inner science geek “The Quantum Universe” and “Behind the scenes with Michael Mosley”, should round off a really enjoyable week.