Vedia Can

Can't believe it, I am the runner up!! :) Thank you for all of the votes :)

Favourite Thing: To stain cartilage cells with dyes and look at their structure under a confocal laser microscope.



Broomfield Secondary School and 6th form. University of Westminster, and BPS.


BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences, MSc Medical Molecular Biology.

Work History:

Phlebotomist at the UCLH, Safety, Health and Well-Being Advisor at the University of Westminster. Amongst many other jobs ranging from a Tour Guide to a Makeup Artist.

Current Job:

PhD Student


University of Westminster

Me and my work

I use molecules naturally generated by the human body to prevent Osteoarthritis.

As an immuno-pharmacologist my role is to look at the effects of naturally occurring compounds released by the human body and to look at how they affect your immune system. Sometimes, your immune system can play a major role in preventing the development of Osteoarthritis, and what these drugs do is help the immune system achieve this. The drugs I use are produced naturally in the human body, and pharmacologists have been able to make synthetic versions of these compounds, which I can test to see how well they work in an Osteoarthritic model; will they give chondrocytes superpowers to rebuild damaged cartilage? I also like to look at the effect of these drugs at a molecular level. So, I look at how they can switch certain genes on or off.

My Typical Day

Rush to the laboratory to check on the cartilage cells, respond to heaps of emails, then attend heaps of meetings, and then back into the laboratory to continue with research, or to deliver an afternoon lecture (if I am lucky I can eat my breakfast before the lecture).

As soon as I wake up I check my emails and respond to the urgent ones first. As I am a proactive person, I apply for grants to fund my research, and competitions to host outreach events at University, so, I am keen to check my emails for updates! I then head off to the laboratory! I usually get to the laboratory by 8am because I have a lot of experiments and meetings to get through on a daily basis. I usually grab my lunch in the morning because I don’t  have time to go out in the afternoon. On my way to work I walk past the BT Tower every morning myimage7 because my building is right next to it. As soon as I get to the laboratory I check on my cartilage cells (chondrocytes) to see how they are. Sometimes I need to passage them (make more of them), or sometimes I need to get on with research; take a plate of pre-prepared cells (cells that were added into the plates 24hrs ago) and give them some drugs to see how they will react to the drug (this is the easy part). Once the reaction ends, I add some dyes into the cells to check if their dead or alive, usually after 3hrs of waiting the colour changes. myimage3 During the 3hrs wait, I am usually attending meetings on University policy or updating my supervisors on my research. After the meetings I get back into the laboratory to set up even more experiments. If I can squeeze an hour lunch break I usually walk down to Oxford Street (its only 5 minutes away), if not, it means I have to plan for the lecture I will deliver in the afternoon usually on Bioinformatics or Biochemistry, or help run a practical in Medical Immunology, which I really enjoy. I usually leave by 6:30pm on a good day, but there are days I am there until 10:00pm. Sometimes it can get tiring working long hours but I enjoy my typical days because I get to meet really cool people.

What I'd do with the money

Inspire more students to study Science related subjects by hosting exciting workshops.

Although, I am super busy with ground-breaking research, I enjoy encouraging students to aim higher by studying a degree at University, and if I can convince you to study a Science (Pharmacology!) related subject, even better! I have come up with a new concept “Bite sized adverse reactions”, and if I win this competition the money will go towards setting up this idea.

The concept: I’m sure most of you have seen your parents take medications (or even yourself), which sometimes contains a label on the medication warning you not to mix certain foods with this medication. From my personal experience I have seen what a single puff of salbutamol can do after you consume a bar of chocolate (I was taken to A&E). So, instead I will demonstrate the effects of these two substances (amongst other foods and drugs, and also cosmetic products) using a water fly, the Daphnia, and explain why this happens. During this workshop you will get you to measure the heart beat of the Daphnia (under a microscope), I will talk about how cool Pharmacology is, give you some goodies to take home, and give you a breakdown of career opportunities available to you after you complete your degree (and what you could be earning £££). If I win, the money will go towards obtaining materials for this concept, and allowing me to travel to your school (if it is based in London), otherwise you can come down to one of our Open/ Taster Days at the University of Westminster, or I will ship out the materials to your school and we can go through everything interactively!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Determined, Ambitious, Scientist.

Who is your favourite singer or band?


What's your favourite food?

Shredded Chicken Noodles! Love Chinese food.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Scuba diving with Stingrays.

What did you want to be after you left school?

A Doctor (I always wanted to help cure people. So, a Medical or a Research Doctor).

Were you ever in trouble at school?

No, I was always the shy one.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Music and Electronics (I can never choose between the two).

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

I successfully defended my research during a poster presentation to the top Professors (the geniuses in the field) in the Pharmacology industry at a Pharmacology 2014 Conference.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My grandmother. She has Osteoarthritis in every joint, and as a result I always wanted to find a cure for it. Now, I am one step closer to achieving this goal.

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

A Lawyer.

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

1. To understand what animals are saying when they speak, 2. To have eternal good health, and 3. To win the lottery.

Tell us a joke.

What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down? It gets toad away.

Other stuff

Work photos:

Here is what my old desk looked like (before I had to move desk space), it’s all open plan but the facilities were really nice; the Mac! myimage6

The view is still the same; I can still see the BT Tower out of my window. myimage2

Late night in the laboratory (sorry its a bit messy, it was a hectic day). myimage8

Here is a picture of my bovine chondrocytes (one of my previous side projects) I looked at under a laser confocal microscope! myimage10

Here is a picture of me looking at gene expression. The little yellow coloured bands are my samples travelling down the gel, they move with electricity so be careful not to touch when it’s running! myimage9

One of my favourite places; the Tissue Culture Hood. myimage1