Saint Antonios high school, Limassol Cyprus 2004-07; University of Sheffield 2009-2012, BSc & MSc; University of York 2013-present, PhD
MBiolSc in Molecular Biology
Cadet officer in Greek-Cypriot army, 2007-2009; Summer placements at University of Sheffield, Aug 2010 and Aug 2011; Trainee student at BDC company in York, Sep 2015-Dec 2015; College tutor at Wentworth college of University of York, 2015-16
PhD candidate at University of York, Department of Biology
Dr Gavin Thomas
Favourite thing to do in my job: Preparing the jelly-like food (ie. LB agar) for bacteria, grow them on the surface and then remove their DNA, similar to how farmers grow their animals.
Eternal patient of a young soul, my medicine is laughter and science!
I am a PhD student in Microbiology at the University of York. I live in a flat in central York with two cats, Cotton and Pralina. Here is a picture of them two falling asleep! They love food as much as I do! My favourite is pizza and greek souvlaki, and theirs is tuna. So we don’t fight over food!
When I am not on a busy schedule, I normally exercise at the University gym or relax watching movies on iMAX screens.
Teaching bacteria how to find, grab and eat sugars from plants
Plants are made of many different types of sugars that come together into a chain called polysaccharide. The polysaccharides are the food of the bacteria that live nearby these plants. Imagine being the bacteria and the polysaccharides are the tomatoes, cauliflower and cucumber in your backyard’s garden. You’ll have to use different equipment to cut them (enzymatic lysis), transport them in the house (membrane transport), cut and cook them (further enzyme lysis) and then eat them (metabolism) . There you go, in my research I’m trying to find the best equipment to cut and transport those vegetables inside the house. Fire away if you have any questions 🙂
My Typical Day
Wake up and have coffee, come to work and start playing with bacteria, help my student with her experiments, rush back home to feed my cats and then gym
What I'd do with the prize money
Use of touchscreen to introduce primary or secondary students (schools in York) into what research takes place at the University of York
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, energetic and motivated
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Used a huge rotor that mashes up plants and releases their sugars using heat, sulphuric acid and pressure
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Giant Plush Microbes and my curiosity (oh! and my passionate Biology GCSE teacher)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Managed to break a mercury thermometer… Teacher wasn’t pleased…
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Economist (to challenge the politicians)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Tough one… hmm if I had to choose probably the Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix and Avicii
What's your favourite food?
Greek souvlaki and pizza
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Alton Towers theme park (Oblivion)
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
a) Travel the world, b) Run my own business and c) Live in a different planet
Tell us a joke.
Q: Which flower talks the most? A: Tulips………… Oi, I know flowers don’t talk :P