• Question: In 10 years time what do you want your research to have achieved??

    Asked by bumblybee to Amelia, Jim, Liz, Prateek, Richard on 22 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Well hopefully in 2 years time I will have produced a device to break open cells, copy their DNA and store their DNA.

      But as for the wider area of this research. In 10 years time I hope that a lot more devices similar to mine will be produced and maybe some of them will be more commonplace in labs and in clinics.

      One device, about the size of an iPad, has already been sent to clinics to test out. Here’s a link for it:


    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Well, 10 years is a loooong time in science. If I think back to what I was doing in the laboratory 10 years ago, I can do the same amount in one month (or much less) now than it took me a year to do back then. If we think about our ability to get DNA sequences, when I was studying still, it had taken 15 years to get the sequence of the human genome, and now I hear that the same thing could be done in less than a day!

      So another ten years from now, we can imagine huge break-throughs. So bearing this in mind, one thing that I am interested in is I would like to find ways of making antibiotics only kill the bacteria actually causing the infection we are trying to treat.

      The problem with antibiotics is that they also kill lots of ‘good’ bacteria, and the ‘good’ bacteria really are like a shield protecting us most of the time, helping to educate our immune systems and helping us process our food. I would like to develop a means by which each bacteria can be targetted, like using laser-sighted missiles. The bacteria could be tagged, and then specially adapted antibiotic molecules would then aim for the tag and become activated, rather than hitting all the good bacteria.

      Some scientists have been looking at this kind of thing, but it is still early days….and even if we do develop a good targeting system, we still need more different types of antibiotic medicines, so in the mean time I would like to go out and hunt for interesting plants and insects and environmental bacteria to see if there are any interesting chemical that they produce that could be used as antibiotics.

    • Photo: Prateek Buch

      Prateek Buch answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      I would love to look back and say that research I did in the lab on developing better viruses for gene therapy has helped people who are going blind to see better – and that I had helped a few young folk become scientists themselves!