• Question: What things do you do when you are working as an engineer? I want you to win and I am voting for you.

    Asked by 365arth23 to Daniel on 6 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Daniel Morse

      Daniel Morse answered on 6 Mar 2017:

      Hi 365arth23 – I want me to win too, thanks for voting!!

      The engineering side of my work is growing a living 3D model using cells to use to infect and see what damage the infection causes, how the human cells respond and eventually (haven’t done it yet) use treatments to kill the bugs that I use, and then infect the models and hopefully see no damage!!

      My work is very varied. I am mainly a microbiologist – so I work with bacteria and fungi. I grow them together in things called biofilms (where the bugs all stick together and form a collection) and then have a look at what genes they use and how they interact. I then use the biofilms to infect the models so I literally put them in contact with the human cells that I grow in the lab, and leave them overnight. The bugs then (most of the time) cause damage and invade into the cells, and I can have a look at that under the microscope with cool fluorescent stains, or again have a look at what genes are used, and see how much damage is caused.

      I also work in cell culture/tissue culture, where I grow the models (you can see a picture on my profile of a cross section of a model, its the pink picture). I also work with immune cells (that your body uses to fight infections) – but they’re hard to work with!

      Then I also do a lot with DNA and RNA – this is how I look at what genes the bugs are using, and although you cant see DNA/RNA normally, I break open the bacteria and fungi cells, and purify the RNA to use in my experiments.

      I’m in my final year of my PhD now, so I have a lot of writing to do for my thesis, but its been great fun and I’ve been to a number of different countries presenting my work at conferences which is awesome! (going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks to another one!! Cant wait!!)