Lesley Pearson

Back from holiday! Where's the coffee...

Favourite Thing: Bench work! I am at my happiest developing a new assay.



Auchmuty High School 1993-1997, University of Dundee 1997-2001


BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

Work History:

Merck Millipore Dundee (2007-2013), Drug Discovery Unit (2013-present)

Current Job:

Senior Research Technician


Drug Discovery Unit, University of Dundee

Me and my work

Finding new ways to test the potential medicines that the chemists make

Our chemists make lots of funky new chemicals that could be the next wonder drug! But that won’t happen without the biology team. We have to come up with new ways of testing these chemicals to see if they could be used to treat diseases. We have to find a good “target” for the chemicals to work on-this could be an enzyme that has gone wrong in something like cancer, or a process that is needed for the survival of something like the bacteria that causes TB. We then have to find a way to measure this target (this is what we call an assay) so that we can tell if the new chemicals are having an effect.

My Typical Day

Lab work and data analysis!

I spend a lot of time in the lab setting up and running experiments. These can be ‘small scale’ at the start of a project (so just a few ‘wells’ of a plate), when I am designing the new assay,  to large scale (so hundreds of ‘plates’) when I am testing the chemicals made by our chemists in the assay I designed.


Once I have used the machines in the lab to obtain the results, I need to analyse them. When I am designing an assay I use excel spreadsheets to look at the data I have produced, but when I am testing hundreds of new chemicals I need to use automated software that does a lot of the analysis for me. Either way, I produce lots of pretty graphs!

What I'd do with the money

I would use it to help fund more schools visits

One of the things I love to do when I get the chance is go out to local schools to talk to them about what it is that I do. I’d use the money to set up exciting demonstrations and hands on experiments to really get pupils interested!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Pierced Perky Geek

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Boards of Canada

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Get married in Las Vegas-it was a blast!

What did you want to be after you left school?

A biochemist

Were you ever in trouble at school?

For talking too much!

What was your favourite subject at school?

Definitely biology

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

Starting to work here.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I always wanted to know how everything worked, and this seemed like the best way!

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

Sadly an accountant….I really love numbers!

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

Tell us a joke.

And English, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar. The barman says, “is this some kind of joke?”

Other stuff

Work photos:

This is a view up our lab. I share the space with lots of other scientists, so this was taken first thing in the morning before anybody got in!



Our building has a ‘street’ area where we have quick meetings, or sometimes a coffee break. The TV screens you can see show different images of research that is happening in the College of Life Sciences.