Thanks for visiting my website! I am Alex, 36 years old and I live near Manchester. I have completed my PhD in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge in 2016 and have since worked as a science writer, a technical author, and a medical writer.
On this website you'll be able to find information on my educational background as well as work experience, and you can also find examples of some of the work I carried out for two science societies whilst studying at the University of Cambridge. I also share a selection of art made in my spare time. On the current page I'll give a more detailed account of my education and experiences since secondary school.
I became interested in art in my mid-teens when I started to design and make fashion/costumes. After graduating high school, I attended art school for a year where I studied fashion design. Although I improved skills in illustration, painting and photography and learned many new skills, I missed studying natural sciences as I very much enjoyed this in high school. I was therefore excited to be accepted to the undergraduate programme BioMedical Sciences (BMS) at Utrecht University. Adapting to academic education was challenging after having spent a year painting, drawing and designing, but halfway through the second year of BMS I began to make great headway. By then, I had switched to Amsterdam University (UvA) as I planned to do my Master's there. After obtaining my BSc in 2009, I enrolled in a two-year Master's programme (Medical Biology) where I obtained most credits through research internships which gave me a lot of experience in cell biology and molecular biology. During this programme, I worked as a teaching assistant on an undergraduate course in early embryology which I combined with a didactic research project to assess the course itself, and I provided suggestions for improvement. I also assessed how a newly-developed 3D computer model could be used during this course. As the final part of my Master's degree I wrote a literature thesis on prion disease and my interest in this topic grew into a fascination!
While a student, I spent a lot of my spare time on artistic pursuits such as designing and making costumes, photography, illustration and I was also involved in the organisation of two art salon/club nights in Amsterdam and Leiden.
Please check out Portfolio > Selection of artwork for some examples.
After completing my Master's in 2011, I moved to Stockholm to work as a research assistant on chromatin remodelling, a topic related to my second-year Master's project. I also worked on a smaller project on fibromyalgia. During this time I volunteered as an English tutor for the Stockholm Student Union to help students with written and conversational English. As I very much enjoyed science, I decided to pursue further education and applied for PhD positions to work on protein misfolding and aggregation since this particular field studies prion diseases and related disorders. I received several offers and I decided to move to Cambridge (UK) to join Prof. Christopher Dobson's group in the Department of Chemistry.
In 2012 I moved to Cambridge (UK) to start PhD research on misfolding and aggregation of alpha-synuclein, the protein involved in development of Parkinson's Disease. I learned biochemical and biophysical techniques such as recombinant protein expression (in E. coli) and purification, assays to evaluate the propensity of protein to form aggregates, high-resolution microscopy and techniques to determine secondary structure of protein.
In addition to these experimental techniques, I also learned and improved many other skills:
- Finding, interpreting and organising specialist literature
- Accurate record keeping of experimental details, samples and protocols
- Writing standard operating procedure compliant with health and safety
- Buying reagents, other consumables and equipment using an on-line procurement
- Planning experiments and booking shared equipment accordingly
- Data collection, data organisation and data analysis using several software packages
- Preparation of figures of experimental data and concepts
- Preparation of presentations and posters for both specialist audiences as well as a
- Writing and preparation of material for conferences and publication
- Presenting my research at international conferences/meetings
- Taking part in group meetings/discussions
- Communication with people from different backgrounds and cultures across different
positions in higher education/academia
During my PhD research, I've been active as commitee member in the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) and in the Cambridge University Nanotechnology Society. I had several tasks:
- Designing/updating the society's website
- Designing promotional material
- Updating the society's FaceBook page and event listings on http://talks.cam.ac.uk
- Photographing some of the society's events
- Designing, editing and contributing to the CUAS printed newsletter Neptune
- Input on strategy, and administration
Please go to Portfolio > CU societies page for examples.
I am still fascinated by science but wanted to pursue a career outside of academia, so after completion of my PhD research I started looking for a 'real job'. I enjoy learning about science and new discoveries and technologies and the challenge of communicating such information in a clear and engaging way. I was thus very exited to start working as a science writer at BioStrata. After realising that writing marketing materials wasn't a good fit for me, I found the position of technical author at Linguamatics. Here, I mainly worked on the user manual of a complex software product that allows users to search through vast amounts of texts (such as patient records and scientific publications). After a year and a half, I left Linguamatics to move up north and take a few months to focus on personal projects. I was very lucky to find a position as medical writer during the pandemic, first at Fishawack and then at Meridian HealthComms. Here, I worked on a variety of deliverables such as publications, conference materials, regulatory documentation, and infographics.
Since mid 2022 I have taken a career break to spend more time with family and to work on my many personal projects. I am currently studying for the Undergraduate Diploma in Creativity Theory, History and Philosophy at the Institute of Continuing Education of the University of Cambridge whilst also exploring my options to get into teaching. I am also looking for part-time work.
Since graduation I have written content for various outlets; see Portfolio > Writing samples for my freelance/volunteering writing portfolio.
am an outgoing person and I enjoy meeting new people and being able to
help others. I work hard and enjoy learning new things. I am also
and have a wide range of interests such as medical/natural
sciences, fashion design, art and music. In my spare time I enjoy
artistic pursuits such as illustration, painting, photography, and working with textiles. I also enjoy going to museums and
galleries, and hiking.