Issue 16 | June 2012

People in careers

Careers From Biology

***Articles reviewed and updated in November 2017***

This issue of ‘Big Picture’ is a bit different from usual. We’ve scoured the UK to find people to tell us what they spend their working lives doing. We hear how biology – and the transferable skills developed through studying and doing science – plays a part in their careers today.

Whether you are a teacher looking to advise students or a student deciding which subjects to take at school or college, choosing a university course or just curious about careers that involve science, we hope you will get valuable information, inspiration and a few more ideas about the incredible – and varied – places that biology can lead.

This issue was first published in 2012; in 2017, all of its resources were reviewed to make sure their careers advice was still accurate. Interviews were not updated unless they contained erroneous information, but their essential subjects and salary guide sections have been brought up to date. Note that the PDFs of the original 2012 issue and infographic have not been updated.

Career advice

Get going!

Five top tips for career contentment

Dear Dr Career...

Meet our careers agony aunt

Video: Where could studying biology lead?

Follow Ahmed as he discusses career options with three people in very different roles

Careers infographic

Biology careers in the UK by numbers

Healthcare careers

Gavin Fergie, health visitor

Find out more about his healthcare career

Katy Cooper, assistant practitioner – radiography

Find out more about her healthcare career

James Batty, radiographer

Find out about James’s transition from the publishing industry to a healthcare career

Real Voices interview: Anaar Sajoo

Meet Anaar, as she tells Chrissie Giles about her life as a genetic counsellor

Real Voices interview: Alan Jenkins

Meet Alan, a community midwife working in London

Real Voices interview: Dr Khaldoon Ahmed

Meet Khaldoon, a psychiatrist working in London

The science of medical imaging

How do we see inside the body?

Communications careers

Jen Middleton, media officer

Find out more about her communications career

Elliot Lowndes, camera assistant

Find out more about his communications career

Imran Khan, head of Public Engagement

Read about Imran, head of Public Engagement at Wellcome

Dr Hannah Devlin, science editor

Find out more about her communications career

Scientific careers

Gift Nambela, molecular biologist

Find out more about her scientific career

Dr Ann Harvey, arthritis researcher

Find out more about her scientific career

Real Voices interview: Andrew Evered

Meet Andrew, a cytologist (a scientist who screens cells for cancer)

Real Voices interview: Dr Elizabeth Murchison

Meet Elizabeth, a cancer researcher focusing on Tasmanian devils

Real Voices interview: Georgine Leung

Meet Georgine, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation in London

Real Voices interview: Dr Jennifer Morgan

Meet Jennifer, a cell biologist at University College London

Real Voices interview: Spike Walker

Meet Spike, a prolific micrographer (someone who takes photos through microscopes)

Real Voices interview: Dr Adrian North

Meet Adrian, a music psychologist based in Edinburgh

Marta Tufet, international activities adviser

Find out more about her career at Wellcome

Dr Chris Connolly

How I got into the biology of bee brains

Professor Clare Williams

How I got into medical sociology

Professor Sir Mike Stratton

How I got into cancer genetics

Dr Lasana Harris, social neuroscience researcher

Find out more about his career studying processes of the brain

Dr Samson Kinyanjui

How I got into training and capacity building

Arts careers

James Peto, exhibition curator, Wellcome Collection

Find out more about his career

Anna Dumitriu, artist

“We all need to engage with bacteria”

Jen Wong, Guerilla Science

“Music festivals are an ideal place to share science”

Matt Parker, stand-up mathematician

“There’s a strong correlation between comedy and nerdiness”

Engineering careers

Dr David Noonan

How I got into medical robotics

Video: Engineering – Developing i-Snake®

Surgeons, programmers and engineers talk about how they created their robotic device

Policy and business careers

Emma Greenwood, policy manager

Read more about her policy career

Dr Yen Choo, entrepreneur

Find out more about his business career

Alyson Fox, head of Grants Management

Find out more about her career at Wellcome

Louise Fellingham, management accountant

Find out more about her career

Lewis Holden, policy adviser, UK government

Read more about working in climate change policy

Amelia Dearman, graduate trainee

Find out more about her career

Environment and food careers

Dr Hannah Rigby, environmental engineer

Find out more about her environmental career

Chris Cooke, junior brewer

Find out more about his environmental career

The science of brewing

Learn more about fermentation

Lewis Holden, policy adviser, UK government

Read more about working in climate change policy

The science behind the career

Video: Research – Pain killers

Watch this video featuring professors, postdoc researchers and PhD students talking about their research

Video: Baking – The art and science of bread

In this film Paul Rhodes guides us through the process of making thousands of cakes, rolls and loaves of bread every day

Video: Research – No more insulin

The excitement of scientific discovery

Video: Engineering – Developing i-Snake®

Surgeons, programmers and engineers talk about how they created their robotic device

The science of brewing

Learn more about fermentation

The science of medical imaging

How do we see inside the body?

The science of zinc fingers

Learn more about these special structures found in proteins

Activities and lesson ideas

Lesson ideas for ‘Big Picture: Careers From Biology’

Ideas for further activities you could do with your students or that you might wish to share with PSHEE teachers

Further resources and activities on biology careers

Wellcome funds or supports other organisations that provide resources and advice on biology-related careers

Fast Facts

Each issue of 'Big Picture' comes with a sprinkling of Fast Facts, fascinating snippets of information on the topic covered.

Browse through all of our Fast Facts indexed by topic