Fiona – PhD Student at the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering

If you enjoy human biology and anatomy, would like a career within the life science and think that practical lab work is your area, then read on – maybe Fiona’s career will interest you…

What attracted you to this job?

I was first attracted to the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering (UKCTE) when undertaking my undergraduate dissertation within this department. I was really impressed with the research carried out here and this was the first time I seriously considered undertaking a PhD. I have never looked back since.

What does your typical day involve?

A large part of my time is spent in the lab culturing cells, analysing samples and general experimental work. I also spend a large amount of time reading, planning and writing. I am often required to prepare presentations for conferences or seminars to communicate my research to the wider community.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

When you spend a long time planning, conducting and analysing an experiment and you realise at the end of it you have come out with some really good data that you might be able to publish or present at a conference this is a really good feeling.

What do your friends and family think about your job?

I don’t think they fully understand my research but they get the general idea. More importantly they see that I am happy with my work and that is what they are most happy about.

Tell us more about your environment in terms of work-life balance

When undertaking a PhD you need to manage your own time so it is good to be motivated. I work hard but also have plenty of time for socialising and enjoying myself! There is a friendly environment in our workplace and we manage to make the most of any spare time in the day to go for lunch or go over to the gym together which can often leave you feeling refreshed when you go back to work.

How did you get to where you are today?

I completed A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and German and initially wanted to study medicine at university. After not being offered a place to study medicine I decided to undertake a BSc in anatomy in human biology, which I really enjoyed. I was then offered a PhD at the UK centre for tissue engineering after completing my dissertation within this department at the University of Liverpool.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path?

Gaining a degree that involves gaining lots of practical lab skills is very useful particularly those in the life sciences.

How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for someone in your field, and how much can this be expected to rise?

The starting salary for a post-doctoral researcher is £32,000 and this will rise according to how you progress within your field.

Out of ‘office hours’, what lights your fire?/ What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax?

I enjoy socialising with friends, shopping, watching films, going to see bands I like. I am also a very active person and love being outdoors whether this be walking or cycling.