I'm a PhD scientist researching a cure for cancer
Dame Alice Harpur School 2005-2012, Durham University 2012-2015, Imperial College London 2015-2016, University of Manchester 2017-present
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Biomedical Science, Master of Research (MRes) in Biomedical Research
Capers Catering company summer job - 2009-2012, GSK - summer intern 2013
CDT in Regenerative Medicine PhD - cancer immunotherapy
University of Manchester, working at Cellular Therapeutics Ltd.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Discovering something new!
PhD scientist who loves food, films and hanging out with friends!
I’m Tasha, a 24-yr old PhD student living near Manchester with my fiance. I love cooking (and eating) different foods, watching movies/netflix and playing sport – badminton and ultimate frisbee (yes, its a real sport, yes, its awesome).
I used to do a lot of music in school and Uni, including singing and playing the saxophone in a band. I also love playing board games/video games and hanging out with friends.
I am looking into how to use a patient's own cells to kill their cancer.
So, our immune system is pretty clever and when we get ill, it will try and attack invading bacteria or virus to keep us healthy. Pretty handy right? It’s a bit different when it comes to diseases like cancer. Cancer is really sneaky, it comes from our own cells becoming mutated, so our immune system doesn’t know how to attack it. However, there are a few cells in the immune system that are amazing and they can attack the tumour! This is great, but on their own, aren’t very successful.
The company where I work can treat some cancers by finding these special cells and growing them up to massive numbers in the lab, so when the patient gets them back, they work together to kill the cancer!
My research is looking at how these superhero cells recognise and kill the cancer and how to make them even better at it!
My Typical Day
A mixture of setting up experiments, running and analysing them - not forgetting a few tea breaks!
I usually get in around 9.30am and check emails, plan what I am going to do during the day, have a cup of tea. Most days I will then spend a couple of hours in the lab looking after my cells and setting up experiments. The experiments I set up usually run for 1 or 2 days so in the afternoon, I will run experiments I set up a day or two before. Then in any spare time I will try to analyse the results to see what they show. There is also time for chatting with my friends at work, sometimes about science, sometimes about everything else!
I love it because every day is different and interesting, and I get to use my science degree to figure out what is going on – a lot of work in science is like solving puzzles, or figuring out how to fix a problem, which is really cool!
What I'd do with the prize money
I want to use the money to work with schools at providing better information about the different careers in science.
When I was at school, our careers information was good for some people (plenty of info on law, medicine e.t.c.) but there was nothing about the different careers in science, so I had to figure it out as I went along. If there was more information about all the different jobs you can do in science, I think many more school students would be interested in being scientists!
If I won the prize money, I want to work closely with a number of schools to raise awareness of science as a career. This could take the form of making videos, creating an info pack to send to schools, visiting schools for talks and giving students careers advice. It would be so cool to visit some of the schools taking part in the competition.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Organised, active, bubbly!
What's the best thing you've ever done in your career?
I love coming up with an idea that no-one has done before, or discovering an unexpected result - there is still so much we don't know in science, I wanna be a part of figuring it out!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I went to a chemistry camp when I was 14 and made paracetamol - that was really cool and got me interested in science as a career.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I loved art and music, but I also enjoyed biology and maths and a bunch of others.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I didn't know what jobs I could get in science but I knew I wanted a job where I could try and find a cure for cancer - this is harder than I thought at the time!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No, I was pretty well behaved.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I love fantasy novels, so being a (successful) writer would be great.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I like Bastille, Imagine Dragons, Mumford and sons, mostly indie/rock stuff.
What's your favourite food?
Such a hard question! Pretty much everything. Pizza is great.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Probably something like white water rafting, I love an adrenaline rush!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Cure cancer, win the lottery, go on Strictly Come Dancing.
Tell us a joke.
Q: What was the biologist wearing on their first date? A: Designer genes