Fiona McMurray

Is experimenting!

Favourite Thing: The freedom to explore and learn new things, and hopefully one day I’ll have a Eureka moment and discover something new and exciting! Also travelling and talking to people from all over the world about science.



Chesterfield Primary School (1990-1997); Kingsmead School Enfield (1997-2004)


University of Southampton, Physiology (2004-2008); University of Oxford, PhD Biochemistry (currently studying here)

Work History:

GlaxoSmithKline (2006-2007)


MRC Harwell and the University of Oxford

Current Job:

I am a PhD student

Me and my work

I want to find out why some people are more likely to be overweight than others.

Although weight can be controlled by eating healthily and exercising,  some people are still more likely to carry extra weight than others. I want to find out why a particular gene, a piece of DNA that is contained in everyone of your cells, could cause this to happen.

My Typical Day

Looking after my mice, going to meetings and discussing ideas, listening to interesting talks, and there may even time for some experiments in the lab!

There isn’t a typical day as such which is why I love what I do! There are always new techniques to learn and exciting discoveries to read about. I also work with mice myimage1

Once a week I need to put the mice on the scales to see how much they weigh. You can also see in the picture that some of the mice have a little hole in their ears. This is how we tell each of them apart, and is like having your ear pierced.

I also look after and grow cells for some experiments, at the moment I am working with muscle cells and liver cells.

What I'd do with the money

I would want to use the money to support Understanding Animal Research (UAR) by allowing myself or others to visit schools and talk to students.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Chatty, restless, enthusiastic

Would you rather be a scientist or an athlete? And why?

Definitely a scientist, although I do run around a lot at work I don’t think I could do it competitively!

If you could have a body super power, what would it be and why?

To be super fast, so that I could finish everything I need to!

Which Olympic event would you most like to win? And why?

The pole vault, I’ve never tried but propelling yourself up into the air and landing on the big cushion looks like fun!

What did you want to be after you left school?

I didn’t know! I really enjoyed biology, so I went on to study physiology at University and loved it!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Of course not, I was very well behaved.

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

Talking to people (anyone who will listen) about my work and science in general.

Tell us a joke.

Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate (8) 9!