Catherine Mary Abbott

Professor, University of Edinburgh

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The younger me would have been pretty astonished I am a scientist of any description!

What do you do?

I run a research group looking mostly at a specific genetic neurodevelopmental disorder, but also have specific university roles (committees, teaching, supervising research students)

Why did you choose this field?

I didn't really even want to do science at university until I was about 16, I was going to study English. I gradually realised that I found biology, and particularly the biology of disease, fascinating. I only considered research after doing my final year project at university- I had hated practical classes up until then.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I guess the obvious one, because it's such a clear line in the sand, would be becoming a professor. To be honest the younger me would have been pretty astonished that I was a scientist of any description!

Why do you love working in STEM?

Making new discoveries that might affect people's lives. Obviously I am no longer the person doing the actual experiments but sharing in the discoveries made by my group is wonderful.

Best advice for next generation?

In terms of advice about making a career in STEM I would say a) find a mentor and b) read about imposter syndrome- knowing it affects almost everyone is pretty life-changing! Also, engage with academic Twitter.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Chance favours the prepared mind.”

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