I don’t really do ‘experiments’ as such. I mostly just observe what happens to people in their normal lives.
One of the kind of things we might do is to get data on a big group of people, some who do a particular thing (like smoking for example) and some who don’ t do that thing – then we follow them up for a long time to see whether one of the groups is more likely to get cancer than the other group.
It’s a bit more complicated than that because we have to take into account all the other differences in their lifestyles, but that’s the basic idea.
All of my experiments involve an ultrasound scanner! I often have to make tissue-mimicking blocks of jelly which I scan using the scanner. I have also collected clinical data, so I have taken the scanner into, for example, brain surgery, and used it on a real live human brain!
Some of my experiments are genetic experiments with fruit flies: combining different genes to try and understand what those genes do.
Other experiments are biochemical: this means that I manipulate cells in different ways, making them express different proteins. Then I can mush the cells up and use various techniques to try and understand how the proteins behave.
I hope that gives you some idea, but it’s a bit hard to explain exactly what I do. That’s why, if I won the £500, I would take experiments into schools to give students an idea of the sort of thing I do!
Hi, I use computer simulations in order to study the way molecular machines self-assemble. I am about to start using my computer program to look at how cancer-related mutations can affect how different machines assemble, and see if I can find some patterns which could be of clinical use.