Future Fridays: Career profile of Fiona Russell, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Fiona Russell croppedAs part of Future Fridays we will be showcasing profiles from our careers library for 16-18 year olds who are considering their options. Here’s an extract from Fiona Russell’s profile, who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on joint pain and arthritis.




What did you enjoy most about your degree?

It was whilst carrying out my research project at university that I really fell in love with scientific research. The practical experiments that we’d carried out in the classroom in the first three years at university weren’t always a true reflection of what it was like working in a real lab, so I’m glad I got this experience during my course. This was when I decided I wanted to carry on with research after my degree, and stay at university to do a postgraduate qualification.

What are the main duties of your current role?

My main duty as a research scientist is to undertake novel research. Most of my time is spent carrying out experiments in the lab. I record the number of action potentials (or signals) firing from joint nerve fibres in response to different drugs. I then analyse my data and interpret the results. Alongside my practical work, I regularly present my research at seminars and conferences, and I teach university students in smaller groups. I also write reports about my research for publication in scientific journals and spend time reading other scientific literature to keep up to date with progress in my field.

Why was your degree useful to you?

My undergraduate degree gave me a strong background in all areas of biological science, which has helped me during my PhD and my current job. Science research often involves working with lots of different teams of people from different labs, so it is useful to have a basic understanding of all the possible techniques used for research. This also helps when publishing research, as you need many different types of background evidence to back up your work. 

To read the rest of the profile, other profiles, or careers information, see http://www.biochemistry.org/careers

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