Beth Dibnah - Technician - Pharmacology Department - University of Glasgow
Issued: Tue, 13 Oct 2020 00:00:00 BST
Tell us a fun fact about yourself
In my spare time, I love to sit down with a cup of tea and cross stitch!
Tell us about your career journey so far
I did my BSc in Biochemistry and MRes in Immunobiology at Newcastle University. After graduating, I worked as a research technician in an immunology lab researching Sjogren’s syndrome at Newcastle University. I then moved up to Glasgow and began working as a technician in the pharmacology department at the University of Glasgow researching G-protein coupled receptors.
What was your favourite subject in school and why?
My favourite subjects were probably biology and maths. For biology, I really liked learning about how the cells in our bodies function and how the body responds to infection. For maths, I liked trying to figure out the problems as it felt like a puzzle.
What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?
The subjects useful for my role would be biology, chemistry and maths. Biology and chemistry would help with understanding molecular biology while maths would help with day to day calculations I need to do, such as solution concentrations. These subjects would allow you to complete an undergraduate degree in a scientific area which would be needed for my role. Although a postgraduate degree is not required, I found it really useful to gain more practical experience for lab skills, which is also useful for my role.
What is a normal day in your role like?
Since every day is different, there isn’t really a ‘normal’ day in my role. However, I normally start the day by planning what I am going to be doing, if I did not do this the day before. I then start doing my experiments! Sometimes this could involve molecular biology, where I insert bits of DNA I am interested in into plasmids (circular bits of DNA) then put the plasmids into bacteria to grow more of the plasmid. Other days could involve putting these plasmids into mouse or human cells, so they produce the protein. I can then do experiments with these cells which may involve adding drugs to them to see how they respond.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
My favourite thing about my job is that every day is different! Each day I tackle a new problem and try to improve our understanding of a certain disease. As such, I spend a lot of time designing and performing experiments, but these can change every day.
Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?
Since a lot of my work involves DNA, some fun activities to try would be making model DNA from sweets (https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/candy-dna-model-edible-science-activitiy/) and extracting DNA from strawberries (https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/strawberry-dna-science/).
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