#MondayMaterials Episode 35 – Dr Louise Carney
Meet the School 12th February 2018
In today’s #MondayMaterials, we’re talking to biomaterials research experimental officer Louise Carney about the work she does in the School.
Please can you describe your role within the School of Materials, for the layman, in 10 sentences or less?
I work as an experimental officer within the biomaterials research grouping, and our research aims are to develop novel materials for medical devices and applications in medicine such as wound healing, anti-viral activity and bio-sensors.
The overall purpose of my role is to support the research of my academic and other research colleagues, as well as the delivery of ‘hands-on’ experimental training for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
In practice, this means I have a very diverse role! My week can involve liaising with academic colleagues to discuss sourcing new research equipment and negotiating purchase; manufacturing medical devices for clinical trial; undertaking research projects with colleagues; advising researchers on experimental design; helping to ensure that our staff and students are working in a safe environment; training staff/students on specialist equipment and techniques; and providing expertise in the culture of human cells.
I enjoy the fact that the work we do in biomaterials naturally crosses over various scientific disciplines. This means I get to meet lots of interesting people and learn more about the work that they’re involved in – and try to pass on my passion for biology and cell culture to my colleagues with engineering backgrounds! I’m lucky enough to be able to dip in and out of other people’s projects as I support their work.
What do you most enjoy about working here at The University of Manchester?
I’ve been in Manchester (at UMIST and then The University of Manchester) since I was an undergraduate and have been in four different schools during this time in roles as diverse as a research technician, PhD student, post-doctoral researcher and now as an experimental officer. I’ve found that there is no barrier to following your interests through a variety of roles across campus.
“I think that the University does an amazing job of engaging with the local community”
I also enjoy meeting visitors to the University, especially from the local community. I think that the University does an amazing job of engaging with the local community through its wide variety of outreach activities.
I grew up and went to school in a low-income area of Manchester and was the first in my family to study post-16, let alone head to University, so I understand first-hand how daunting it can be to do something different. I really think that good outreach helps to bridge that gap for young people who might not otherwise have considered University as an option for them.
Who or what first inspired your interest in science and engineering?
I’ve been curious about the world we live in and how things work for as long as I can remember! This was something that my parents actively encouraged as I grew up – we were always at the library, museums or out and about nature spotting. My dad’s role as a school science technician meant that he had plenty of ideas for science experiments we could do at home, so he definitely fuelled my desire to study science.
The hobby that takes up most of my spare time is the martial art TaeKwon-Do. I’ve been a black belt for quite some time now and have been an instructor for 12 years to local children and adults. I love the interaction I get with my students and it’s especially rewarding when I see how TaeKwon-Do can make such a huge positive difference to the students’ self-confidence and overall wellbeing.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I’m always busy as I don’t do ‘nothing’ very well, but I enjoy the chance to get a little creative where possible so craft activities (especially with my two children) and playing my guitar are two favourites. I also like to share my love of science with my children.