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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 & 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 / FUN FACT

"Chance favours the prepared mind.”