City of London School (GCSEs and A levels), Leeds University (BSc in Sports Science), University of Brighton (MSc Sports Science), Nottingham Trent University (PhD Neuromuscular function and physiology)
Bacherlor's and Master's degrees and a doctorate
I've worked in health and fitness as a gym instructor, life guard and sports coach, I've worked in a pub, but most of my adult life has been spent in academia studying or doing research
University College London Institute of Neurology
Favourite thing to do in my job: Finding out that things are not quite as you expected... though puzzling over why they are that way sometimes hurts my head!
From brawn to brains: I'm a former sport & exercise scientist now working in neuroscience.
I’m a neuroscientist at UCL interested in human movement and the central nervous system that produces it. Most of us think little of typing out a text message or picking up a cup of hot chocolate and drinking from it, and yet how the brain produces these seemingly simple movements is still a mystery.
(As a bit of an aside, one chap called Daniel Wolpert has argued that the whole reason we have brains is to produce movement!)
In my work I use non-invasive brain stimulation methods to probe the function of the motor system. I’m also interested in how and whether these stimulation techniques, which can sometimes have longer lasting effects on brain function, might be used alongside traditional rehabilitation after brain injury or disease.
My typical day involves a mixture of: talking (often about research ideas, my data, other peoples research or data); looking at data and crunching numbers; writing up research findings to submit to journals for publication; talking to and testing research participants (who kindly agree to perform our little tasks and have their brains stimulated at the same time!). This is all fuelled by lots of coffee and cake.
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
Being involved in one!
How does technology threaten your privacy?
It's too scary to think about
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Try my best
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Apart from publishing research papers which other people have found interesting enough to bother reading, I've been lucky to travel a lot to conferences around the world to talk to colleagues about research.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I almost left academia, but the chance to work with my current boss - a world expert and all-round lovely chap - inspired me to stick at it.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to work in sport as a sports scientist or psychologist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I went through a tough time and was almost expelled before my GCSEs but managed to turn things around with the support of some fantastic teachers.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Cycled from London to Paris in 24h (OK it wasn't all fun - there were tantrums and sore backsides, but it was worth it in the end)
Tell us a joke.
I recently developed a phobia of lifts ... I'm taking steps to avoid them