Hi, I’m Daniel.
I’m a research scientist currently working at the University of Bristol under in the Massey Group (led by Prof. Ruth Massey). My work involves the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae which is known to cause many different types of infection including, namely, pneumonia. I’m investigating the role of certain genes and their influence on the bacterium’s behaviour and disease-causing capability.
I grew up in South Wales, and studied my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of the West of England, in Bristol. I then worked for a small biotechnology company in Cardiff for about 4 years before embarking on a PhD. My PhD was completed at the Cardiff University School of Dentistry, under the fantastic supervision of Prof. David Williams. I worked with the fungus Candida albicans and looked at how bacteria can influence the behaviour of this microbe in biofilms (think of dental plaque). I then obtained some funding to continue my research under the mentorship of Prof. Julian Marchesi at Cardiff University School of Biosciences for a year, before starting my current role in Bristol.
I have a wonderful family; my wife Lauren and two sons Ruben and Oliver, whom I adore. I love to spend time with them, watching them play, learn and grow and just admiring their inquisitive nature.
Interview-style quick-fire questions
Favourite colour: blue
Favourite food: a nice lamb sunday roast dinner!
Favour number: 5
Favourite car: Nissan GTR
What inspires me?: There are a number of people that inspire me; Mr Alan Bootle who told me of the phrase by which I live my academic life; “If you think you can do it, you’re probably right!“, and my nan, who always pushed me to try harder, do more, and achieve more. I am fuelled by my passion for microbiology research and the unknown. The thrill of finding something nobody else knows is amazing.
Three words that describe me: personable, enthusiastic, positive
If you weren’t doing science, what would you be doing?: I’m in a rock band, but I don’t think I’d have made a career from that..maybe something like the police force, or ambulance service/NHS somewhere.
What do you like most about being a scientist?: Every day is different. There is so much to find out, so many different things to investigate, and the flexibility of being able to plan my own day is great. Also, I really love being able to promote STEM subjects and specifically microbiology to schools and the general public.
Name three things you can’t live without/keep you motivated: My family, my guitar, and just being able to listen to music in general.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about a scientific/STEM career? Absolutely do it. You can, and should. It is hard work, but life is hard too, so as long as you persevere and want it enough, you will achieve your goals. Anybody can be a scientist. You don’t have to be a straight-A student, or be a particular type of person. Passion and enthusiasm, the will and want to succeed is just as important.