Meet the Scientist

Danny Burrell

Neuroscience Technician at Aston University

What scientific field do you work in?

I work in the field of technical support for Aston Universities neuroscience and pharmacy courses.

"... when an expensive piece of equipment decides to stop working..."

Could you briefly explain what your job involves?

My job involves providing technical support to the neuroscience and pharmacy undergraduate courses. Although preparing the laboratories for the practical’s is a big part of my job, helping to operate and fix complicated equipment and ensure that practical classes run smoothly takes up the majority of my time.

Do you have any secret talents?

My favourite pastime is to sketch my own dress and shoe designs. I also love to sing and play the piano.

When did you decide you wanted to work as a scientist?

I decided to become a scientist from a very early age. In high school I took an active interest in becoming a forensic scientist, but when I enrolled onto a forensics course at University I found that pharmacology was more suited to my interests.

"style and a beach go hand in hand!"

What's your favourite food?

Pistachio ice-cream!

What educational pathway did you take to get to where you are now?

Although I wasn’t the most academically gifted student in school, I was determined to succeed in science. After leaving school, I attended Redditch NEW Collage and undertook their forensic science BTEC course, which led to me studying forensics at Worcester University, changing to a human biology BSc degree after my first term. I eventually studied a master of science (MSc) degree in pharmacology at Aston University.

"...sketch my own dress and shoe designs."

What's your favourite movie quote?

“I detest cheap sentiment.”

– Bette Davis as Margo Channing, All About Eve.

What's the best thing about your job?

Working with undergraduate students is by far the most rewarding and fulfilling part of my job. When helping a student who’s really stuck during a practical class and seeing them finally understand the theory or practice behind an experiment…there’s just no better feeling in the world!

What's the worst thing about your job?

The fear when an expensive piece of equipment decides to stop working! Some pieces of equipment range into the tens of thousands of pounds, so any strange noise can cause a worry.

If you could be anyone in the world for 24 hours, who would you be?

Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of American Vogue). More specifically I’d love to experience the glamour and opulence of hosting the annual MET Gala event as Anna Wintour. She’s one of the most driven, successful, and dedicated people to their profession, which inspires me on a daily basis.

Have you taken part in any research? What was your most exciting project?

I have indeed! After completing my MSc, I helped train students in a specialised pharmacological technique and also helped to develop ideas for a now published study which looked into a new, novel compound as a potential pain and inflammation treatment in people who suffer with a condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBD).

If you could take one thing with you to an island, what would it be and why?

The latest issue of Vogue; style and a beach go hand in hand!

"...I was determined to succeed in science!"

Do you have any advice for our readers?

Science is one of the most rewarding areas of profession anyone could venture in to. It’s hard work, long hours, and half the time an experiment has a mind of its own, but when the results start to makes sense to you, it is truly an amazing feeling! Also, remember that keeping another passion burning (in my case, fashion) is crucial to unwinding from the stresses and frustrations of your career.

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