Andy Jackson
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Behind the lab coat Q&A: Dr Jonathan Strefford

Andy Jackson
Posted by
05 Dec 2013

As part of Behind the lab coat, our week celebrating researchers and the vital role they play in helping us beat blood cancer, we're holding a series of Q&A sessions with current researchers to find out more about what makes them tick.

Under the microscope today is Dr Jonathan Strefford, Reader in Cancer Molecular Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. 

"What's the best high and worst low about your job?"

High: Answering an interesting scientific question or discussing some exciting experimental data with colleagues is a lot of fun. I also enjoy teaching young research scientists and discussing my work with the public.The really satisfying thing is in the application of science to help people.

Low: Well, there are some of course! There is obvious disappointment when our work is not accepted for publication in a scientific journal, or a grant is not funded.

"What would be the one thing you would say if someone said science was boring (or scientists were boring)?

I would say 'how can an adventure be boring? Because that's what science is!'

"How do you explain your research to people at a party?"

Good question, it is probably slightly different each time! In essence, I start by saying I study the DNA of patients with blood cancer, as changes present in the DNA of these patients can give us powerful insights into
better ways to treat these diseases.

“What do you like to do to unwind when you're not researching?”

I play with my children, my 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son. I also like to stay fit and play basketball (which I am no longer any good at!).

"What one thing would you tell your 21-year old self?”

To be honest, I am not sure my 21-year old self would even listen to me! I guess I would try to stress the importance of taking every opportunity that presents itself.

“What’s the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you in the lab?”

Well, I am not in the lab anymore, I am now in the management of the team, but I do try to get in the lab and help when I can. My staff are forever 'rolling their eyes' and giggling at the simple questions I always ask, like 'where is the power button?'

Read more about the research we're doing to beat blood cancer