Photo:

Vincent Keenan

Favourite Thing: My favourite thing to do in science has to be adding to gaps in understanding. Nothing I do is better than making clear something that other scientists were unsure about, or even didn’t know in the first place! Then I can say, I helped with our understanding of that topic.

My CV

Education:

University of Glasgow (2007), University of Strathclyde (2009-2013), University of Iowa (2011-2012), Heriot Watt University (2013-2014), University of Liverpool (2014-present)

Qualifications:

BSc. Mathematics, MSc. Applied Mathematical Sciences with Biological Modelling.

Work History:

Lloyds TSB, Student Loans Company, Morrisons, Royal Navy, Dominos Pizza

Current Job:

PhD Student

Employer:

University of Liverpool

About Me

I’m an avergae guy who happens to love science

I live in Liverpool with 3 girls from my office. I was a university drop out (Civil Engineering), then I joined the Royal Marines and was later discharged, then I went back to university (Maths). I Lived in the USA for a year while studying at university. I try and get into the swimming pool every morning if I can and like to go hill walking during the summer. My real passion is in football, I play in a Saturday league, and if I wasn’t a scientist I would be a greens keeper at a stadium.

My Work

Uses maths to solve biological problems

I look at range expansions and biological invasions, which is a fancy way of saying I look at how species move with their environment. More specifically I look at how different varieties of the same species affect these processes.I use mathematical equations and computers to run experiments to find the answers to my scientific questions. Sometimes collected data is used, but in my field this is hard to come by, so we use existing knowledge to build assumptions. In a nutshell, I am a theoretical biologist.

My Typical Day

Lots of reading and doing hard sums

I try to start my day by swimming if I can, it sets me up for work! I begin by dealing with all the days admin stuff, answering emails, etc. Then I’ll read scientific documents within my field of research to see if there’s anything new and exciting happening. I’ll then usually break for coffee before starting on calculations for whatever I’m working on.  I break for lunch at about 1pm and have another break at 3pm before checking the news and leaving at 6pm.

If I’m not doing sums, I’m often setting up experiments on the computer to test if my results from the experiments match those from the calculations. This usually means programming my own code to solve the calculations I’ve done by hand, this is always tricky.

What I'd do with the money

Hold an exciting invasion event!

I’d love to hold local event at one of the festivals or museums in Liverpool all about biological invasions! I’d get a crowd of really keen scientists to give talks on some invaders, telling people about the havoc these conquerors wreak on the environments they invade. I’d also set up some workshops on how to indentify invaders here in the UK, and how people can spot them!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

avergae, energetic, and short

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

What's your favourite food?

Minestrone soup

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Going to live in the USA

What did you want to be after you left school?

A civil engineer

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Absolutely

What was your favourite subject at school?

Maths

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Got to play with very powerful computers!

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

A book called “Mathematical Biology”

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Greenskeeper at a football ground

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Be happy, play professional football, go into space.

Tell us a joke.

A Scottishman, an Englishman, and an Irishman walk into a bar. The barman asks, “Is this a joke?”.

Other stuff

Work photos:

myimage1

Where all the magic happens

myimage2

Angelo, the rescue fish. He lives in this palace to himself because his mates tried to eat him.

myimage3

Another shot of my desk, I don’t get out much…