Chris’s first degree was a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Analysis at Huddersfield University, after which he went on to complete a PhD in Environmental Microbiology at the same institution. He is currently a microbiology research scientist at North Wyke Research, Devon. He devises solutions to environmental pollution problems and conducts research projects for Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
My first degree was multidisciplinary and focused on monitoring water, soil and air for pollutants from biochemical, chemical and microbiological perspectives. I liked the practical skills and real-world experiences acquired through field trips, which allowed my degree theory to be placed in context. The blend of field-based and laboratory-based skills acquired from my undergraduate studies provided an excellent scientific training for my current microbiology research and consultancy career. I enjoyed environmental microbiology and pollution science modules, and this inspired me to pursue a PhD in Microbiological Monitoring of Constructed Wetland Performance, which I was awarded in 2006.
After my PhD, I completed a short but fruitful postdoctoral period, investigating germ warfare and biocidal wipes. My strong interest in environmental microbiology gained through my doctoral studies steered me towards a research and consultancy career.
During my PhD research I was keen to contribute to other aspects of university life and regularly demonstrated in undergraduate practicals. Demonstrating helped me to broaden my own science knowledge, developed my scientific communication skills and boosted my CV. In addition to this, I helped oversee undergraduate summer research projects funded by the Society for General Microbiology and the Nuffield Foundation. As well as providing support to lecturers in their teaching and research, I also contributed to science outreach activities with local primary and secondary schools, helping to dispel the notion (I hope!) that science is ‘uncool’. Engaging in outreach activities developed my ability to communicate my subject to non-specialists, which is a very useful skill to have.
My environmental microbiology PhD research was crucial to my current career success as this work resulted in a number of publications in scientific journals such as Water Research and Letters in Applied Microbiology. High-status publications are vital for all scientists and helped to secure my first job interview. It is also essential in my current post that I balance my time effectively between my hands-on research, preparing scientific papers, managing staff and participating in writing new research grant proposals. Good communication skills, both oral and written, are critical in my job as I attend science conferences, primarily to network, and workshops at which I share my results with other researchers. One of the few perks of doing science is the international conference travel!
Ultimately all my enthusiasm and hard work in both the laboratory and field have paid off, as I thoroughly enjoy my job as a microbiology research scientist.
This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.