I now work as a self-employed contractor through my company Deep Mountain Software. I use my background in structural biology and my expertise in software development to build custom software for companies in the life sciences space.
I am currently a PhD student at UCL, due to submit my thesis in March 2021. My project is entirely computational, and my aim is to develop predictive models which will take any protein (either in the form of a sequence or atom coordinates) and predict if and how it will bind to a zinc ion.
I use various supervised learning techniques to do this. I also have written various pieces of software for processing these biological structures, and for identifying known zinc binding sites from external resources.
I have started a company called Goodwright with my friend Alex. We are making websites for scientists who run their own lab (PIs) so that they can show off their research, attract collaborators, or anything else they might want.
Starting a business has been a long time goal, so it has been very exciting finally getting this setup.
Throughout my PhD I sought as many opportunities as time would allow to teach Python and other coding topics. I love explaining this stuff and bringing in new programmers.
This was mostly done through demonstrating work at both UCL and Birkbeck, and I also taught sessions as the Tech Officer for UCL MedTech society in 2018/19.
After I graduated I worked for a year in Professor Jamie Davies' lab as a research fellow and developer. My project was to create a tool which interfaced with their existing database of drugs and drug targets which would create a synthetic biology tool for adding 'druggability' to other proteins.
This was my first experience in professional development and carrying out a year long project to a given specification, and I really, really enjoyed the whole experience.
I did my undergraduate degree at Edinburgh, in Biological Sciences. I picked the subject out of pure interest in the subject rather than with any specific career plan in mind. I thought (and still think) that Biology was the branch of science that would most transform the world in the 21st Century.
For most of this time programming was a side hobby that I did for enjoyment, but by the end I brought the two together by doing my final year dissertation on computational tools for simulating drug binding at the quantum level.
I also co-ran the science section of The Student Newspaper there for a time.
I was a member of Edinburgh's iGEM team in 2014.
iGEM is a worldwide competition for university teams, who form teams of ten or so students to spend a summer working on making a genetically engineered system to do something useful. The teams go to Boston in October to present their work to the world, which is exactly what we did in October.
Our project was to create synthetic communities of bacteria where each species functioned as a logic gate and which communicated through secreted chemicals. I worked in the lab, and also worked on RNA simulation.
In a previous life I was briefly a medical student at UCL. It took about four months before I realised I might have made a bit of massive misstep.
Not much came of this academically, but it was my first experience of living away from home in London, and it was an important time. In the months following my 'MedExit' I had nothing but spare time, and it was during this time that I started programming again, and wrote my first lines of Python.