Amrin Pathan
24 Jun 2019
- Laura Shafi



Amrin is a sandwich student studying Molecular Biology at University College London. She is working as a Biology Lab Method Developer for a year as part of her degree.




1.       What is your working habitat?

When I first started, I used to be in the lab and rarely at a desk. But, now that it is nearing the end of my placement, I'm mainly doing analysis and report writing in the office.

2.       What are you working on at the moment?
I use bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) to produce rhamnolipids, a naturally occurring bio-surfactant. Synthetic surfactants are chemically made using petroleum products which are both harmful and toxic to the environment. Therefore, developing methods to produce bio-surfactants is important.

3.       What does ISIS neutron and muon source and Physics bring to your life science work?
Using biology – we can make things using sustainable means, but what then? How are you going to analyse it? Physics and chemistry are an important part of all the techniques I use to analyse samples.

4.       What's your favourite thing about working on life science?
Working on projects that have value– both literally and metaphorically. I am currently producing Rhamnolipids which are applicable in a variety of industries from pharmaceutical to agriculture, they are also very expensive to buy so it's nice to make something beneficial at a lower cost.

5.       What technique do you most value in your lab/experiments?
Liquid Chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) – It separates the components of the sample and then you can get the mass of the individuals peaks. Let's say there are 5 components in your sample, they each have different retention times so you can obtain the mass of each individual component in your sample.

6.       What inspires you to be a scientist?
I've always loved studying, I was the person in class who would ask can to take an extra subject. That was my first question in college.
I have enjoyed working as its much more relaxed, I'm doing stuff that means something and could have an impact in the future and when I discover something new or solve a problem, it's very exciting!

7.       What are you most proud of about yourself or your work?
I did have some success in increasing the yield from the previous student. But most importantly, I had never done much public speaking before this year. So, doing countless presentations this year in front of a range of audience has really helped me develop personally and I feel a lot more confident now. I have learnt so much!

8.       Who is your science role model?
Real people – I heard a story about a girl living in India who at the age of 17, started rescuing dogs around her area, got volunteers together and now has over 800 volunteers. She then went on to become her state's best cadet, best firer and Parade Commander– people like this inspire me to work hard and do something meaningful with my life.

9.       What global challenges worry you?

Plast​ic! Currently, I'm trying to help with the water shortage in rural villages in India. My family and I are funding to drill wells and install water pumps to provide the community with water. I aim to continue doing such work on a larger scale.​

10.       Are there any misconceptions about your job? What stereotypes do you want to address?

Research can be a lot of paperwork and reading but there's a lot more to it. I really like my team and people in general at ISIS. For a lot of my analysis other members of staff support me so much. It's about progressing the work and everyone helps everyone. It's very interlinked. And we have cake Fridays!

11.       What do you like about working at ISIS?

I have many areas I am able to explore before I'm told to work on a specific thing. I can implement my own ideas into action, which gives me a lot of flexibility and control.

12.   Describe your job in 3 words.

​Chasing a challenge.