Onyx has spent significant amounts of time in three different Continents. Having grown up and studied in Nigeria up to GCSE level, and then came over to the UK for her A-levels and Undergraduate degree. She went on to pursue a PhD in the States, and came back to the UK for a Postdoc position. Onyx is now a Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Sussex, researching Alzheimer’s disease. Onyx will be at Soapbox Science Brighton on 2nd June 11am-2pm with her talk “Learning about dementia using fruit flies, what’s all the buzz?” and is supported by the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex.
SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place – and what are you most looking forward to/excited about in taking part?
OA: Talking about my research to the public, and communicating to mostly non-scientists in a manner I am not usually accustomed is scary but also very exciting. I am looking forward to standing on the box, on Brighton beach; and listening to the wonderful breadth of research carried out by the amazing speakers.
SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?
OA: My parents definitely instilled the love for Science, because they both have a Science background, and I was constantly surrounded by it. Over the years, my curiosity has kept that flame going.
SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?
OA: That I am contributing to defeating Dementia! And that I am using fruit-flies to do this.
SS: Research in STEM is increasingly multi-disciplinary. Which subjects do you use in your work?
OA: Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry, Cell biology
SS: What 3 attributes do you consider important to your work (e.g. creativity, team-work, etc), and why did you pick these?
OA: I call them the three “P”s
Patience – You have to do a lot of waiting, a lot!
Perseverance – You have to be determined to continue
Passion – You have to have a reason to stay patient and persistent
SS: If you could change one thing about the scientific culture right now, what would it be?
OA: The time between writing a grant, and hearing the outcome is such a long process…it would be great if the turn around time was much shorter
SS: What would be your top recommendation to a female student considering pursuing a career in academia?
OA: That’s a tough question… I guess make sure you have a passion for it….Perhaps, get involved with some teaching while you are doing your PhD etc. to determine if you enjoy it.
SS: What words of encouragement would you give to children who might be interested in a career in science?
OA: I think it is the best thing in the world, I might be SLIGHTLY biased! It brings out your creativity, it is constantly stimulating/challenging, and there is not a dull moment.