Jockey, then worked for a company that made circuit boards for the Eurofighter and F1 cars. Now working as a scientist at the University of Edinburgh
Postdoctoral research fellow studying the genetics of depression
Favourite thing to do in my job: Coding, I love coding and it's so satisfying when it runs successfully.
I live in Edinburgh and really enjoy doing research on mental health.
I left school at 18 to work in horseracing as my ambition was to become a jockey. I had about 100 rides and 5 winners before retiring in 2002. After retiring I worked in a number of managerial jobs and in 2007 I decided to do a degree to further my knowledge and strengthen my CV.
I obtained a first class honours degree in Equine Management from the Royal Agricultural College. I greatly enjoyed my time studying for my undergrad degree, and I found studying genetics really fascinating and I decided to pursue a second career working in this field.
In 2011, I began a four year PhD entitled ‘Managing genomic diversity in the course of selection’ at the Roslin Institute which is part of the University of Edinburgh.
I am currently working as a post-doctoral research fellow examining the genetics of depression in humans. This is a three year position within a project known as Stratifying Resilience and Depression Longitudinally (STRADL) which is funded by the Wellcome Trust.
I examine genetic data try to find specific regions of the genome that influence whether someone develops depression
My Typical Day
Checking and responding to emails. Research. Writing papers and grant proposals. Preparing and presenting talks. Going to meetings. Helping others with their research.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Same, but different
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Presenting my results at big international scientific conferences around the world
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My supervisor on my undergraduate degree was fantastic and had a very inquisitive mind which I found inspiring
What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths, pretty much the only subject I really enjoyed.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Rarely, I tended to keep my head down.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Black Pistol Fire are currently one of my favourite bands, along with Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes and Deap Vally
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Stayed in an airbnb in Canada and the owner took us to a cabin he was building on an island. We had to hire a car and take a ferry to this island. The island was beautiful and we jumped from some rocks in to the ocean and ate grilled cheese sandwiches from a BBQ.
Tell us a joke.
How do you get down off an elephant? You don't, you get down off a duck