What’s a typical day at work like?
I get into the lab and make preparations for the day’s experiments, many of which can be quite long in duration, with gaps of an hour or so between each stage. As such, there are often opportunities for me to catch up on the latest publications that impact upon the field and my research. Having amassed a sufficient amount of experimental data, I will spend time writing up the findings of my research in the form of a scientific paper that will be submitted to a journal in order to be considered for publication. We have frequent visits from scientists with similar research interests to ours, and they give seminars that the majority of the department will attend in order to expand our knowledge of the field. I regularly give presentations myself (this may be to a small group of fellow researchers in the department, or to a much larger audience of scientists at a conference that I have been invited to attend) and so I often spend time preparing PowerPoint slides summarising my research findings. As I move further down the academic career path I will spend time preparing and delivering lectures and tutorials to undergraduate students. In summary, it is often a very busy, but varied day at work!
What are the best things about being an academic toxicologist?
Knowing that you are contributing to the future safety of patients who are reliant on a certain drug for their health and well-being is very rewarding. As an academic you get the opportunity to meet and interact with world experts in toxicology, and learn from them as a result. There is also a good measure of ‘academic freedom’ – the opportunity to adjust the focus of your research based on your developing scientific interests and ever-expanding knowledge, reflecting the adaptability you need be an academic toxicologist.