Wow I can't believe it's over! I had a really great time meeting all of you :D
Science club coach (I taught kids about digestion and gravity and other things)
I’m a PhD student who 3D prints stuff
I’m from Leicester and am mixed race (my mum is half Filipino and half Chinese, and my dad is English).
I grew up watching Star Trek and lots of sci-fi films, so I like to think they (at least partly) inspired me to get into science and engineering!
I love drawing and painting, and cycling on my bike.
I also really love rock music- when I was a university student I was a DJ for our Rock Society. The DJ booth also had controls to change the lighting colours, and a smoke machine button (the first time I ever used it I pressed it for too long, thinking it wasn’t working- the entire club FILLED with smoke and everyone was coughing and bumping into each other. Woops)
I’m trying to 3D print microchips that can analyse cells (as well as other tiny things like bacteria)
I design microchips that you can put cells (and other small biological things) into, that will scan them and tell you information about them. Then, you could use these chips to diagnose diseases in people.
I make them with a 3D printer. With 3D printing, you can make them quickly and cheaply -they only cost between £3.50 and £10 to print.
Because they’re small and cheap, they could be sent out to people in areas where there are dangerous diseases (like Ebola). Instead of people having to go to a doctors’ to be diagnosed, they could diagnose themselves with one of my microchips. This would be great because then doctors and nurses don’t have to put themselves at risk by coming into contact with infectious people. Also, some people can’t afford to go see a doctor, or they might live very far away from one (but we could just post a microchip to their doorstep for them to use!)
My Typical Day
As a PhD student we don’t really have a “typical day”, but I think it’s what makes our work so exciting!
Sometimes I will make a new microchip design and 3D print it. A lot of my time though is spent running tests on my chips- I flow different dyes and particles through them to check they’re working properly, and to let me work out how to improve their design.
On other days I work as a university teacher, showing students how to use different laboratory equipment. And sometimes I travel to conferences- these are big events where researchers from around the world meet up and share what they have found.
What I'd do with the money
Buy a 3D printer for a school, to give present and future students the chance to try this amazing technique!
A 3D printer could help out in so many subjects- teachers and students could make models of molecules in Chemistry, cells and organs in Biology, atoms in Physics, and complex shapes in Maths. Apart from just aiding learning though, these machines let you be super creative in all sorts of ways: students could make sculptures in Art & Design, and product prototypes in Graphics and Resistant Materials!
A 3D printer would also help students to develop the design and problem-solving skills that engineers use.
And as well, they’re like, really fun 🙂
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Nerdy, inquisitive, small (I’m 5ft 1″)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
This is a hard question. Either custard cream biscuits or smoky bacon crisps
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Either seeing volcanoes in the Philippines, or going to the Leicester City FC bus parade this May. I was on the news because I’d spent 6 hours making a life-size Premier League trophy out of cardboard and foil
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really at school. I had a friend who looked a lot older so we used to see 15 or 18-rated films underage (This is naughty. Don’t do it)
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
The first time I ever 3D-printed something I’d designed, I was so happy
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
Tell us a joke.
How do you organise a space party? You planet.
This is the 3D printer I use to make my microchips! It has a bath of liquid (the grey square at the bottom of the glass window bit) that a computer shines a laser through. As the laser moves through the liquid, it causes a chemical reaction that turns the liquid to a solid, and so it forms my chip!
There are many types of 3D printers, and they come in all shapes and sizes (and prices). Here’s one of our other printers.
Some 3D-printed microchips
Me holding one of my microchips
The equipment I use to test my microchips