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Women in Science

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Video clip: Elspeth teaches students and does outreach work, as well as doing her research. She gives talks about her subject in schools, bars and other public places.        


So now I’m back in biochemistry, and I’ve just turned sixty and I’m taken up a new remit to encourage colleagues to do more, more outreach. So during the last twenty five years I’ve taught on seventy summer schools around the world, techniques of protein crystallography. But I’ve also done a large number of public engagement talks, including the Dorothy Hodgkin memorial lecture, and that was extremely poignant because at the time my husband was suffering from a large brain tumour and was very, very ill and he was able to come in a wheelchair, and I felt the support of the whole of the Oxford community at that lecture which is on YouTube. And I talk in schools quite a lot, in pubs. I just gave a talk in the Royal Albert Hall bar, opened an art exhibition for the International Union of Crystallography and I’m still teaching undergraduates. And I remain doing that all the time, especially the maths course for biochemists and bio medical scientists. And at the moment I have four graduate students and two undergraduates in my group. I don’t have any postdocs at the moment because I haven’t put any grants in in the last five years and that’s something that I need to address in 2015, perhaps put a grant in. In biochemistry there are about forty per cent of female staff and I very much enjoy them, they are extremely supportive and I find them very willing to help, in any way that they can.