Meet a Scientist


This week I am super excited to introduce Amy from @foodonthemind. Amy regularly tweets about life as a nutritional neuroscientist (@TheAmyR) and her account is a must-follow! Her interview below is a really honest account of the highs and lows of a PhD and academia in general. I hope you get as much from it as I did! 

Rebecca | An Anxious Scientist



Hi there! Please introduce yourself for the An Anxious Scientist readers!

I’m Dr Amy Reichelt. I am an Early Career Research Fellow, currently based at RMIT University in Melbourne. I “grew up” in the UK, and did my undergraduate degree at University of Birmingham, and then my PhD in behavioural neuroscience at Cardiff University (completed in 2011). I did a post doc back at University of Birmingham and then went to UNSW Sydney where I was awarded an Australian Research Council fellowship. This enabled me to set up my own little lab and pursue and develop my own research interests…

Could you describe your science interests in a single sentence?

I am interested in how diet, particularly high sugar junk foods, impact on brain structure and function, ultimately resulting in changes in cognition and emotion.

How did you become interested in science?

I always liked science classes at school, particularly chemistry but I was always really passionate about understanding how things worked. At university I started studying medicine, however I found that I wanted to understand more about systems and physiology, and the most fascinating aspect was the brain.

What does a day in the life of a nutritional neuroscientist involve?

My days tend to blur together, because although I’m always doing different things, I have a number of major projects I’m working on simultaneously. For example this week I need to finish imaging the hippocampus – the memory centre of the brain – with a technique called immunofluorescence. I get to use a fancy microscope, but mostly just sit in the dark playing with different coloured lasers making beautiful pictures. The brain tissue is from rats that have been eating high sugar diets, and it has been found that even a few days of consumption of these diets is enough to really screw up their memories! I’m looking at populations of neurons in this region to see what effects the diet has in terms of numbers of newborn neurons.

My days are pretty busy, I’m always doing something! I’m working on a manuscript at the moment where we are studying the effects of high sugar diets on the gut microbiome, I have videos of rats doing memory tasks to analyse to look at how diet changes behaviour. I also have to take lectures for undergrad psychology students and teach psychopharmacology to masters students on Thursdays. Basically my days are pretty varied. I find a lot of the time I’m working towards a long term goal, but along the way it is easy to get side tracked, so I have to keep my eyes on the prize.

There aren’t enough hours in the day, so I get into uni early, I start in the lab at about 7.00am (my commute is about 35-45 mins). I try to leave before 4.45 to beat the terrible Melbourne rush hour traffic, and I like to decompress after work by going to CrossFit, nothing beats smashing some heavy weights about. I also find it satisfying to see myself improve there, many of my research papers have been the outcomes of 2-3 years of work, it’s nice to have achievements along the way. I often respond to emails in the evening or try to catch up with writing.

Has diet been something that has always interested you, or did you end up in it by accident?

I’ve always been interested in how drugs of abuse impact on the brain and change behaviour by altering the brain’s reward system. This system is in place to motivate behaviours vital for survival of the species, like eating high energy foods and having sex, so when it becomes hyper-stimulated behaviours can become maladaptive, and that’s when addiction can arise. I found that the concept of “food addiction” was interesting, but controversial. However, I know that too much of something is often not good for you, particularly thinking about how obesity has increased worldwide. I think that our modern day diet is having a fundamental impact on our brains, and this manifests as altered behaviours, both cognitive and emotional.

That sounds so interesting, and really current too! What question do you get asked most frequently when you tell people what you do?

Mostly just statements like “Oh my god, I’m so addicted to sugar!”

You mention mental health in your Instagram bio. Is this something that you feel strongly about?

Being a researcher is hard, both mentally and emotionally. I don’t think it’s a job you can do half-heartedly, people’s passion and drive make them get up and compete for funding, publications and jobs. It’s not a standard 9-5 job. As a PhD student I used to work most weekends in the lab, and this continued into my postdoc and through to being an academic, although now I mostly do writing or analysis because I have animal techs that look after the animals at the weekend. I live on the other side of the world to all of my family and it’s tough not being able to just go over for Sunday lunch with my parents, or go to a gig with my brother. I miss them a lot.

Science is not for the feint of heart. It’s tough receiving rejections on funding requests you’ve put your heart and soul into, or receiving snarky comments from a reviewer on your submitted manuscript that leads to a rejection. I’ve had my track record ripped apart by anonymous people, and it’s painful. Nobody tells you that you’ve done a great job. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed at 5.30am to go into an empty lab to try and get something incremental done, particularly after an experiment fails, or your work gets accidentally destroyed (it’s happened).

As a PhD student I found research easy, I loved what I was doing and I knew it would all fall into place in the end. The other PhD students were my comrades and it was great having them there for support (and beer). In the last year my mental health has been really challenged. I have to secure funding for my lab otherwise I can’t do the job that I love doing, and funding rates are dropping every year, and that’s incredibly stressful. I don’t have a big support network and I feel isolated and like I burden people who will listen to me like my partner. I’ve had panic attacks in the middle of the night and regularly can’t sleep more than 4 hours, particularly around grant announcements. Sometimes I get completely overwhelmed I’ve cried in my office, my lab, my car and to my rats. I guess it’s because I care so much about what I do and the fact I’ve invested my life into it. My little network of friends I’ve made in Australia has been there for me thankfully, and they mean the world to me. Keeping myself fit and eating healthily is also really important. I hope that it keeps my brain as healthy as my body and it helps me sleep at night!

Exercise always helps me too! If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan? 

Maybe a personal trainer. If I can get an obese rat to press a lever, I hope I could motivate someone to do a push up.

Definitely! Who are your favourites to follow on social media?

The wonderful Dr Natalie Matosin (twitter @nataliematosin) is an absolute inspiration, and I’m honoured to call her my friend.

What books do you recommend?

I read Lab Girl – Hope Jahren on a long flight back to Melbourne recently. It was really interesting and down to earth. I love learning about the person behind the science.

And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

I can learn something new every day. I feel like I’m constantly growing and learning, yet the more I know the more I realize there is so much more to find out!

Mental health in science is something that I am really keen to get people talking more openly about, so huge thanks to Amy for her honest take on it.

Previous featured scientists



Hey! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Hannah, a first year PhD student at Imperial College London. I live and work in London and fill my time with working, commuting, reading, and socializing in the big city! My two big passions are science and fantasy, as I am constantly inspired by the creativity and imagination in both.  

What are your main research interests?

I research Genetics associations with Type 2 Diabetes, and I have a particular interest in exploring biochemical changes in T2D, having done an undergraduate in Biochemistry. I have a HUGE poster of metabolism on my bedroom wall, it’s awesome!

Amazing! How did you end up in science?

I can confidently say that my love of science began with my amazing high school science teachers. Their enthusiasm and passion for science was infectious.

How do you decide which science books to review?

Currently, my blog features popular science with a medicine and genetics theme, as it’s still early days (and that’s my research)! I often check which books are recommended in the latest edition of Nature or New Scientist and I’ve been to a few events, including the Wellcome Trust Book of the Year Awards.

Who are your favourite popular science writers?

I find my favourite books depend on my mood. I love reading Nick Lane as his books always come across as incredibly smart and well-written, and Nessa Carey has been my favourite author since meeting her at an event; she was just so funny and willing to talk to everyone!

I’d love to meet Nessa Carey, her books are great! Do you get many opportunities to get involved in outreach activities?

Some, yes. I am hoping to find more through my PhD. I recently returned to my High School and gave lectures on University, doing a PhD, and how super cool Genetics is. I got to go in the Staff room which was totally bizarre.

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan? 

100% become a police woman in Dubai. They get to drive sports cars!

I didn’t know that! Do you have any fiction books that you like to read to relax or is it science all the way?

Anything fantasy, I love. Especially with magic! My current favourites are the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. The worlds these authors create are so detailed you can get lost in them. I would also recommend the Eldarn Sequence books by Jay Gordan and Robert Scott.

Totally agree, the Game of Thrones books are incredible! Who is your science inspiration?

Currently good old Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine. He said “it is more important to know what sort of person has a disease has, than what sort of disease a person has.” He was talking about personalized medicine way before it became fashionable.

That’s a great one,  I love that quote. Finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

Working every day on something I am passionate about. I am so grateful that I can say I truly love my work, and that one day it might make a difference.

Any other comments?

Thank you, Rebecca, for inviting me to participate in your Meet a Scientist blog. I am always so excited to meet other young scientists and share my enthusiasm! If any fellow PhD students are visiting London, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to show you around. My Instagram blog is @keepcalmreadscience and you can message me there. 

Thanks Hannah! I’ll definitely get in touch the next time that I’m down in London!

Previous featured scientists



Hi there! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello. My name is Gabriel-Philip Santos (most people call me Gabe). I am a SoCal native and I am first-generation Filipino-American.

I am an absolute nerd who loves Star Wars, Pokemon, Disney, comics, gaming (particularly Mass Effect), and nerd culture in general. Outside of nerdom, I also love adventuring, graphic design, photography, and videography. I also love fashion, but am not really good at it myself.

On the science side of things, I am a paleontologist. Specifically, I am the collections manager for the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California. The only accredited paleontology museum on a high school campus!

What are your main science interests?

My interests in science is pretty wide. As a paleontologist, I mainly focus on marine mammals, in particular the weird hippo-like desmostylians of the Pacific coasts. Imagine something that looked like a hippo, was about the size of an elephant, and lived in the ocean! They are so weird and I love them.

As a collections manager, I also do a lot of research in museum curation and preservation techniques. Digitization of fossil collections is a big thing that I’m really working on right now for the Alf Museum, so I’m learning a lot about 3d digitization techniques like laser scanning or photogrammetry and 3d printing as well.

My big passion is in science communication and outreach. Storytelling has always been a huge part of my life, so I absolutely love finding exciting and engaging ways to get people to learn. Whether it’s me cosplaying as Professor Oak from Pokemon to talk about the real world inspirations for fossil Pokemon or using augmented reality to create inclusive and accessible museum exhibits, teaching and inspiring a love for science is what I do best.

One last side project that I really have a personal attachment to is advocating for greater diversity and for greater inclusivity in STEM. Being a Filipino in paleontology, which is a mostly white-male dominated field, I at times felt like I didn’t belong in paleontology. It took me a while to get over that feeling thanks to the support of many amazing colleagues and friends, but that feeling sucks and I never want anyone to feel that way. Diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility make science so much better because it broadens our horizons!

How did you become interested in paleontology?

It’s actually kind of a dramatic story. I loved dinosaurs and fossils in general as a kid. My family would take us to the La Brea Tarpits and I had all the little dinosaur toys, but in my culture, paleontology is not logical career option. So instead, I went the medicine route. I went and got my premed/biology degree from UC Irvine in 2010, took the MCATS, and started applying for med school. Through all this, I was suffering through undiagnosed Major Depressive Disorder. I really hated what I was doing and I was really depressed. It got so bad that I was really ready to quit everything. Literally. Luckily, I got the help I needed, got diagnosed and started to move on with my life.

I knew medicine was not for me, so I kind of wandered for a bit. Eventually, I took a trip to New York for my birthday and visit the American Museum of Natural History. There I explored the paleontology halls until I stopped in front of the Paraceratherium (giant rhino). Standing there for at least fifteen minutes, I started to think about what went into the display. Someone had to find the fossil. Someone had to describe it. Someone had to put it all together.

After thinking it through, it was at that spot 5 years ago that I decided to become a paleontologist. As soon as I got home, I Googled volunteer opportunities nearby and eventually found a place at the John D. Cooper Center in Santa Ana. Their previous curator, Meredith Rivin, took me and even let me volunteer every day! Eventually, they hired me as a curatorial assistant and let me work on their social media and outreach. It was here that I began to really develop my interest in paleontology and science communication.

About two years later, the Cooper Center hired a faculty curator, Dr. James Parham, who would also be a professor at Cal State Fullerton. Dr. Parham was looking for graduate students and so I applied for grad school and started to study paleontology with Dr. Parham as my advisor. Forward to two years later, the collections manager position was created at the Alf Museum. Never thinking I would actually get the job, I applied. Fast forward to today, I will be starting my third year at the Alf Museum in September.

What is life in a museum like day to day?

Life in a museum from day to day is kind of ridiculous in a good way–at least at my museum. We are a small museum, so we all have to wear many hats and have different skills. One day, I can spend an entire morning curating a brand new collection that our high school students collected from the field and then by afternoon be working on a brand new outreach event. On another day, I could be giving a tour to second graders explaining how museum collections are organized and then have to run back to the collections because the database server is not working and I have to do some matrix style coding to save it. I guess the one constant of life in a museum from day to day is that its always exciting. There is always something new to learn, some fossil to be discovered, some problem to solve. Even the most mundane of tasks, like changing a light bulb, can become an interesting challenge at a museum when the light socket sits 10 feet directly above a 15 foot, one-of-a-kind fossil elephant trackway.

Do you get many opportunities to get involved in outreach activities?

I definitely get many opportunities to be involved in outreach. Our direction of outreach and education, Kathy Sanders, is amazing at coming up with activities for our guests and she really gives me a lot of room to try new things at the museum.

One of which is letting me refresh our biggest outreach events of the year, Discovery Days at the Alf Museum. Previously, Discovery Days were about a particular group of animals, but I have changed things up a bit where our Discovery Days are more about engagement and also humanizing science. Our events like, Women in Paleontology or So You Want to Be a Paleontologists, have been big successes in our local community and all work to advocate for diversity in sciences as well as being educational. This year, we are also spreading our reach by participating in comic-cons and other kinds of community gatherings.

Additionally, I am also a content creator for the Alf Museum social media. I get to spend a lot of time graphic desiging, photographing, and making videos that are entertaining and educational for our viewers online.

What is the one thing that you wished more people knew about paleontology?

I really wish more people knew that paleontology is more than just dinosaurs. Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth. That’s 3.5 billion years worth of life. 3.5 billion years worth of stories to tell! (PS. Mammals are where its at!)

Ah, I was going to ask if you had a favourite dinosaur..?!

If I have to chose a dinosaur, it would be Parasaurolophus, the tube crested dinosaur. At the Alf Museum, we have “Dinosaur Joe” the most complete baby Parasaurolophus ever found. I have learned so much about these dinos since coming to the museum and have just utterly fallen in love with them. But desmostylians are my ultimate fave when it comes to favorite prehistoric animal. 

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan? 

Real talk, I always wanted to give acting a try, especially musical theatre. If for whatever reason, paleontology does not work out, I’m going to be first in line for the next Hamilton tryouts. I think I have a chance. I mean “I’m young, scrappy and hungry. I am not throwing away my shot!”

Who is your science inspiration?

I could say my science heroes as a kid were Bill Nye and Miss Frizzle. But they aren’t my inspiration anymore. My science inspiration comes from my friends and family. I work on creating new science communication skills to able to teach what I love to my family. My friends, many of whom are paleontologists and science communicators, inspire me every day to be a better scientist because they are all amazing scientists who want to change the world. I’m a very emotional and sappy person, but this is my interview so deal with it.

Love that! What books or podcasts do you recommend?

For books, I would recommend My Grandmother Fish by Jonathan Tweet. It’s a book written to teach young children about evolutionary concepts!

I also recommend reading The Expanse series. It’s a science fiction series set in the not too far future where humans have colonized Mars and the asteroid belt. It is a wonderful read and I recommend it because it does a wonderful job of presenting science fiction that is grounded in reality. And also we all need a little food for our imagination now and then. Just because someone is a scientist, it doesn’t mean we have to give up our imagination. The world of The Expanse is wonderful, intriguing, and filled with so many mysteries!

For podcasts, I’m going to recommend a few of my friend’s podcasts. First is the Femmes of STEM podcast by my dear friend and colleague, Michelle Barboza-Ramirez. The podcast focuses on the many amazing women of science, past and present. There’s also the Common Descent Podcast, Palaeocast, and I Know Dino for all your paleontology needs.

Oh, and there’s a great blog called the An Anxious Scientist.

Oh, thank you! Finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

For me, the best thing about being a scientist is that I get to experience the beauty of the world we live in a completely different way. When I drive to say Las Vegas and see all the rock formations in the desert, I see the eons that it took form the rock formations. When I look up at the night sky, I see the rainbow of colors that fill and swirl in the galaxy above. Even when I am just sitting down with my friends, I can look around and have a greater understanding and respect for the world around because of science.

Anything else you’d like to add?

A bit of advice for future scientists. You DO NOT have to look, act, talk, or be a certain way to become a scientist. You just have to be willing to work hard, be ready accept failures, and be always willing to learn. No matter your background, no matter where you came from, no matter where you went to school. Not everyone can be a scientist, but a scientist can come from anywhere. (Yes, I borrowed that from Pixar’s Ratatouille.)

If you want to talk nerd stuff, science communication, or even just geek out about fossils, find me online! Add me on Instagram or Twitter (@paleoparadox). You can also follow the Alf Museum on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to keep up with all the awesome happenings at my museum.

Or if you are into paleontology education, you can look for the group I run with a few other pale educators on Facebook, called Paleontology education!

If you are reading this and ever in Southern California, stop by the Alf Museum and I’ll give you a tour!

Huge thanks to Gabe for such an honest and insightful interview.



Hi there! Please introduce yourself for the An Anxious Scientist readers!

Hello, I am a social scientist who just got her PhD in Global Health! I love chocolate, hard sci-fi novels, and improving scientific literacy for people who don’t have time to get a PhD degree themselves.

You’re my first social scientist! Could you describe your science interests in a single sentence?

I study how people from different cultures form beliefs and theories about complex phenomena- such as the concept of “healthy eating”.

That’s so interesting, and so current right now! How did you become interested in science?

When I came to the United States from Ukraine to finish my Bachelor’s in Business Administration, I had no idea I’d get into science one day. After finishing that degree, I became a manager of a health food store, since nutrition was a big passion of mine. After two years of organizing wellness workshops and teaching healthy eating classes, however, I realized I wanted more formal training. I wanted to make sure my approach to a healthy diet was scientifically accurate! So I went for my Master’s in the field of Public Health (big shift from a business degree).

At that point, though, I was no longer interested in going back. Many of my views shifted now that I understood health science better, and I craved more training and experience in the scientific process. So I applied to a new interdisciplinary PhD program in Arizona, which was another big departure for me- I was now at the Anthropology department. The type of research work I’ve been involved in since then has been very rewarding- it intersected the fields of anthropology, nutrition, and public health. Thus, lots of exciting collaborations!

Do you have any plans post-PhD?

In fact, I just graduated and moved to a new state where my husband got an academia job (he’s in a very different field- orchestral music). My goal is to find a place in academia where I can be part of multidisciplinary research teams and work with students. I am particularly excited to involve undergraduates in hands-on research.

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan?

Run off and join the circus! Well, not really (though I do have some relevant skills… see my destressing answer). My true backup plan is to be back in health promotion! But with a much better grasp of science.

What made you decide to start your blog?

I began my blog in the 2nd semester of my PhD journey. I was so overwhelmed and lost (and was suffering from impostor syndrome) that I needed a way to document what I was learning and how I was feeling. I also wanted people to see what it’s like to get a PhD degree through my posts.

I love your blog! It’s such a great reality check. Who are your favourite scicommers to follow on social media?

I have many! @scicommnerd stands out for me because she’s both an active scicommer and an awesome aerialist. Also, follow @2020science on Twitter- Andrew Maynard is fantastic at creating short simple scicomm videos!

What’s your best destresser?

Aerial sport! I’ve been doing aerial hoop (or “lyra”) for 4 years now and it is my favorite way to escape. I’ve even done several performances just to switch my focus from sedentary and mentally challenging PhD life to this purely physically challenging art!

That sounds incredible? Who is your science inspiration?

Tough question. Honestly, my PhD mentor is a superstar of anthropology- Dr. Daniel Hruschka. He’s a stellar researcher. I definitely want to be like him when I grow up.

What books (science or otherwise!) do you recommend?

Currently, I’m finishing up “The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit”. It looks at the biology of human behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary biology & medicine are some of my most favorite topics and I’ve even written a couple of book chapters on the subject (I’d go do a PhD in that, but I think I’ve had enough formal training for now 🙂

And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

I can’t think of anything more exciting and worthy of a life-long calling than creation of knowledge through science!!!

Thanks for having a blog where people can “get to know” scientists! It’s so important for effective science communication. And if you are a scientist who wants to get better at communicating science via social media- I and my colleagues are organizing a live Twitter chat next week (August 29, 5pm). Join us to learn some tips or share some of yours ->

I’ll be sure to join in the Twitter chat, I can’t wait to hear everyone’s top science communication tips!



Hello and welcome to An Anxious Scientist! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m Erin and I’m a fourth year PhD student studying Ewing sarcoma at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Could you describe your science interests in a single sentence?

I am interested in rare pediatric cancers and developing targeted chemotherapies that are safer and more effective than the current standard-of-care options, which tend to be non-specific and have long-term side effects.

How did you become interested in science?

That’s a great question and I don’t really know, to be honest. It was always my favorite subject. There was never anything I was interested in more than science. I decided on pediatric cancer research after my sisters lost their best friend to leukemia.

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan?

All of my alternative plans are science related! But in a perfect world I would love to be a beach bum dog walker.

That sounds like my idea of a perfect day job! What are your go-to tunes or podcasts to get through a busy day?

I mostly listen to music and what I listen to is super dependent on my mood. I’ve been listening to Hamilton, Beyonce, and Kesha a lot lately. Actually, Beyonce is always in the mix lol.

Channelling your inner Beyonce is always the way to go!! Which social media platform do you use the most?

I use Instagram and Twitter equally.

Who are your favourite scicommers to follow?

I like following Lisa (@lisa_inascienceworld) because we share a lot of the same interests outside of science, namely CrossFit and that’s awesome to see. I also benefit a great deal from the PhD top tips on her blog. I enjoy following Sophie Arthur ( Of all the scicommers I’ve found so far, I think our research is the most similar in that we both do cancer-related work.

What’s your best destresser?

CrossFit. For sure. Closely followed by sleeping.

Who is your science inspiration?

My undergrad mentor, Dr. Patricia Szczys. She is so passionate about not only her work, but also science as a process in general and I loved being able to work with her for four years. She’s also a wonderful example of balancing science and family responsibilities. I ultimately decided to pursue a different field and she helped guide me to what was best for me, even though it meant leaving her field. I have so much respect for her and I hope that I can emulate the qualities I love about her as a mentor and human being for my students one day.

What books (science or otherwise!) do you recommend?

I love The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. It was required reading during my first year of graduate school. As a molecular biologist, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture in terms of nature and how magnificent it is. This book forces you to take a step back and think about everything from a different perspective. Props to my program director for requiring us to read it! 

I love that book! And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

I get to contribute to society in a positive and meaningful way while doing cool things!

You can follow Erin on Instagram @notthattypeofdoctor for a “sarcastic documentation of my pursuit of a PhD in Cell Biology!”



Hi there! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi guys, I’m Charlie and I’m currently a baby biochemist studying at the University of Portsmouth, I’m just about to go into my second year and I hope to be a scientist one day!

Could you describe your science interests in a single sentence?

I love anything that’s about microbes and genetics.

How did you become interested in science?

When I started GCSEs I had always liked science but when I started triple science I fell in love with biology in the first lesson – I was lucky and had a really intelligent, passionate teacher!

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan?

Maybe an evil engineer, you don’t tend to get evil scientists – what is their hypothesis?! Or perhaps a pilot, that could be fun too!

What are your go-to tunes or podcasts to get through a busy day?

I don’t really listen to podcasts but I do love 80s music!

Which social media platform do you use the most?

I always use Instagram, I’m on it all the time – I’m pretty sure I have a slight addiction to it…

Who are your favourite scicommers to follow?

I really love @ananxiousscientist, @thestemsquad and

Who is your science inspiration?

I absolutely love Rosalind Franklin, she is definitely someone to aspire to be like and she is a great role model! I’d also say that my biology teacher inspired me a lot to do everything I have so far in science!

What books (science or otherwise!) do you recommend?

I’m reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot at the moment and so far I love it! I would also recommend The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey.

And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

The best thing about being a scientist is to be able to learn about things you never knew existed and be able to find out how things work, for me that’s the most exciting part! It’s also pretty fun being able to do experiments and play around with cool lab equipment!

You can keep up to date with Charlie’s science world by following her Instagram, @bio_is_life.



Welcome to An Anxious Scientist! Please introduce yourself to the readers!

Hello everyone!! I am a postdoctoral researcher in Materials Science! I am 29 years old living in Oxfordshire. I love my cat, my husband (obvs second to the cat!), running, dressing up and travelling. Oh and Game of Thrones!!

Love that the cat comes first!! Could you describe your research in a single sentence?

I investigate the ‘strength’ of materials and characterise their microstructure in order to aid the material selection process when designing structural components in a nuclear reactor! 

Wow, that sounds so cool! What is one piece of scicomm advice that you swear by?

I am relatively new to sharing my ‘science’ life through scicomm but I love following other scientist on social media!

Do you have a ‘if science doesn’t work out’ back up plan?

Haha totally something to do with fashion!! A job that would allow me to wear amazing outfits and feel beautiful daily! 

What’s your go-to snack to get you through the busiest days?

Coffee is a daily MUST! But late night we have an ice-cream and bagels shop right next to the lab that is open till midnight!! Perfect for late night lab sessions! (

A midnight ice cream trip sounds like my idea of heaven! What social media platform do you use the most?

Instagram!!! I love it. Before Ms_Materials I used a personal account that is basically my life in a nutshell. I never really got onto the Snapchat hype (maybe it’s my age!)

Do you have any particular Instagram favourites?

Well like I said I am relatively new to this but I love @ananxiousscientist and

Who is your science inspiration?

Erica Lilleoden! She is in my field and I have met her a number of times but she is the woman I want to be!!

What science books do you recommend?

I recently posted and read a materials science book by Mark Miodownik called ‘Stuff Matters’ a very interesting read!

And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

I get to learn more about the world daily and I am engineering a better future. Hopefully my work will make a difference 🙂

You can find out lots more about Anna and the beauty of materials science by following her Instagram (@ms_materials).



Hi there! Please introduce yourself for the An Anxious Scientist readers!

I’m Christopher Ford born in Edinburgh and now PhD’ing in Hamburg, Germany. My focus is HIV research.

Could you describe your research in a single sentence?

I look at the consequence of immune pressure on HIV-1 capsid stability and innate sensing.

What is one piece of scicomm advice that you swear by?

Be visual and keep it simple.

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan?

Plan B is to start a cat coffee house.

What’s your go-to food/beverage for early morning or late night lab stints?

The day starts with a coffee to pick me up and finishes with a beer to wind on down.

What social media platform do you use the most?

Mainly Instagram and LinkedIn.

Who are your favourite scicommers to follow?

Definitely got to say Rebecca Hall, but otherwise Michael Mosley.

Who is your science inspiration?

I’m inspired by my students.

What science books do you recommend?

I totally recommend Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre.

And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

Science allows you to be a student of life for life, to explore, discovery and contribute just that little bit more to the world.

You can find out more about Chris and his science life by following his Instagram (@eat_sleep_pipette_repeat).


Hi Soph! Thank you for being my very first Meet a Scientist! Where are you working at the moment?

Hey! Thanks for having me. I feel honoured to to be your first contributor. I am currently heading into the final year of my PhD at the University of Southampton.

Could you describe your research in a single sentence?

I study how metabolism keeps stem cells pluripotent, or in lay terms I study how a stem cells ‘sweet tooth’ keeps them from turning into other cell types.

What is one piece of scicomm advice that you swear by?

I think I would say ‘a good analogy’. It is so much easier for your audience to take it and remember what you’re trying to tell them if they can relate to it.

If science doesn’t work out, what is your back up plan?

Ooo this is a tough one! So many things to choose from. I would love to be paid to travel the world exploring, learning different languages and taking photos, but I would probably end up being a chef. I do love to cook when I have the time and I have cooked for Russel Crowe and Stephen Hawking before (my claim to fame!) so I could add to that list 😛

That’s definitely a claim to fame! Speaking of food, what’s your go-to snack/beverage for early morning or late night lab stints?

I guess most people would say a strong coffee for this – but I hate the stuff! But I do have a massive sweet tooth so I usually grab some chocolate or sweets if I’m in the lab late and I need to keep going.

What social media platform do you use the most?

I would definitely say Instagram at the moment. I use so many different platforms and each of those targets a different audience, so it’s important to learn which one is right for you.

Who are your favourite scicommers to follow?

There are so many as part of the STEM squad – but I love @science.sam, @scigirlsash, @astronomeramber, @sciencebeaut and so many more.

Who is your science inspiration?

I don’t think there was a single person that made me think ‘I want to be a scientist like you’. Science was just what I was good at and what I was most fascinated by. But now I am inspired everyday by the scientists around me both in person and the online community and the work they do and how their minds work.

What science books do you recommend?

I’m not a big reader in all honesty. Although I would recommend Richard Dawkins’ books and also Intuition by Allegra Goodman. Most of my out of lab science reading though is mainly magazines. I like to keep up to date on science from all fields so I’m always reading New Scientist.

And finally, what is the best thing about being a scientist?

Simple – discovering something new and at that moment being the only person in the world to know it! What is cooler than that eh?

Check out Soph’s blog (, Twitter (@sophtalkssci) and Instagram ( for a great insight into her world of stem cells and science inspiration!