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Ok, here's a thread about my academic career for those who need it. The first stepping stone was a BSc at the University of Edinburgh in medical microbiology (microbes that cause disease in humans). I graduated with a First-class Honours degree. I went straight on to do a PhD. 1/
I loved Edinburgh & wanted to stay, so took a PhD project with a supervisor at Edinburgh Napier University. It was co-supervised by someone at a government research institute in Oxford which at the time was called the Institute of Virology & Environmental Microbiology (IVEM). 2/
The deal was I would spend 6 months in Oxford at IVEM at the start of my project, learn some new skills, then go back to Edinburgh for the rest of my PhD. But life got in the way. I fell in love, though not with Oxford which I found very snobby compared to Edinburgh. 3/
I ended up staying and doing my whole PhD at IVEM. Being a government research institute, it had students from all over the country registered for PhDs at lots of different universities depending on their supervisors & where the funding for their project came from. 4/
My PhD project was to make bacteria glow in the dark as a way to rapidly detect pollution events from industrial processes. I published a few papers from my thesis but this is the one I'm most proud of showing the sensors worked: doi-org.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/10.1111/j.1462… 5/
My PhD taught me a few things: that I loved research, that I loved making bacteria glow, and that I desperately wanted to get back to studying infectious diseases rather than environmental microbiology. So I started looking for postdoc positions. 6/
Times were different then and I got several offers, including one back in Edinburgh. Tempted though I was, I ended up accepting a position at Imperial College London were I started working with mycobacteria, the family of bacteria that includes the one that causes TB 7/
It was soon clear I wasn't cut out to work with mycobacteria. They grow sooooo slowly. My boss was amazing & told me to think about what I wanted to do and make it happen. I started playing around making other bacteria to glow 8/
That lead to me working on a relative of the food-poisoning E. coli, writing a grant with another person at Imperial based on my preliminary data and getting a five year Wellcome Trust funded position 9/
That work led to my first scientific award but was also a stressful time as I was very independent & my boss wasn't keen on that. I had a baby, got offered a lectureship at Imperial and started the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab 8/
Life was going really well. I got some grants to work on Staph aureus and Strep pyogenes and was part of a big Gates Foundation-funded project which got me back to working on TB again. But then love intervened again and meant a move to New Zealand was on the cards 9/
I was awarded a Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and moved to Auckland University. I spent the first couple of years remotely supervising my lab in London and finishing of projects while setting up a new lab in NZ 10/
I've been at the University of Auckland for 11-years and was promoted to Associate Professor a couple of years ago. I've won a bunch of awards and last year was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to microbiology & science communication fin/
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