27 May 2022. Brought to you by Bethany Stansby.

Annie Clarke

What is your current job / programme of study?

I am currently a PhD student on the CDT Advanced Characterisation of Materials at Imperial College London.  

What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do? 

I studied Biology, Chemistry, History at A-Level. I love science, so I also studied physics at AS-Level. History also allowed me to dive deeper into my other interests and has helped me greatly when analysing sources of information and in my writing abilities. 

Why did you choose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)? 

I moved into materials science after studying BSc Biomedical Science and training to become a Biomedical Scientist. After gaining research experience in microbiology during my degree, I recognised the natural next steps to allow more in-depth investigations of the research questions within biology lead into the materials science field. My previous experience was researching resistance mechanisms in bacteria, so this felt like a natural move, as studying materials really allows a multi-disciplinary approach for tackling scientific questions.  

What is your research about? 

My research project aims to determine the mechanisms of action of naturally occurring antimicrobial products. I will be characterising the materials I am using and using materials techniques to discover how exactly these agents work on very small length scales, and using very current technologies to allow time-lapsed, 3D correlative imaging of these interactions. I am partnered with Proctor and Gamble who are the biggest producers of consumer goods products worldwide, which means my research will hopefully have a very real, relevant impact on the world.

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?  

I was asked to deliver the concluding speech for my graduation ceremony, which was an amazing experience to be recognised for the work I did whilst studying, but also to be able to personally recognise and thank all those who had contributed to my academic journey so far.  

I also recently won a science communication competition for a podcast I made alongside some other PhD students about science misinformation and truth. It was great to delve deeper into why people spread misinformation and how we can begin to tackle it.  

What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

I really enjoy the environment that research allows for, working both collaboratively but also being able to work and challenge myself individually too, so I would like to continue with this as I progress in my career. I really enjoy outreach and science communication, so wherever my career takes me, I will make sure to stay engaged in this.  

What is your favourite material (and why)?  

Biomaterials are cool – being able to take inspiration from nature and using science and technology to improve on that is something I find fascinating and it will be interesting to see how far we can advance in the future with these materials.  

What advice would you give your 16 year old self? 

Dig deeper into my interests, push the limits of what I think is possible, embrace my love for science and to continue being inquisitive and curious about the world around me.  

Links to any external profile pages / website you have