It was my PSE teacher at Kelso High School, Mr Payne, who first suggested I applied for Cambridge. He took me to one side on my first day in sixth year and told me that my Higher grades were sufficiently good enough that I should give it a go. Just a few months later I found myself in my smartest school uniform attending an interview at Trinity Hall for Natural Sciences. The other applicants seemed much smarter, and more confident than myself so I was very pleasantly surprised to be accepted.

While my arrival in Cambridge from a small town in rural Scotland was quite a culture shock, it didn’t take me long to adjust and make the most of university far from home! I really benefitted from the world-class teachers I met in small groups, who fostered in me an ability to think both independently and critically. I also remember my final-year undergraduate project in the Genetics Department as a particular highlight which strongly encouraged me to pursue my academic career.

I wasn’t ready to complete my studies after Cambridge so I followed it with an MSc at the University of Edinburgh and a DPhil at Balliol College, University of Oxford. I now work as a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and the Zhejiang University – University of Edinburgh (ZJE) Institute in Haining, China. I’ve been very lucky to pursue my own scientific interests and to experience many of the advantages, including frequent travel abroad, throughout my academic career to date.