Ruth Mitchell

Favourite Thing: To realise how cool and relevant my research is to real life and the human body!!



2011-current: University of Bristol, PhD Student; 2008-2011: University of Sheffield, Biomedical Science; 2002-2008: Lycee Francais Joseph Kessel, Djibouti.


BSc in Biomedical Science; Baccalaureate Scientific Francais.

Work History:

In care home; As an audit assistant.

Current Job:

PhD Student


University of Bristol

Me and my work

I’m a PhD student in immunology – the body’s first defence against any invading forces!

I’m a PhD student in immunology, more specifically I look at the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. This is where the body breaks down the myelin wrapped around the nerves. Myelin helps in conducting the messages from the brain to different parts of the body like telling you to walk. So when the myelin gets broken down it means that the messges don’t get through. I am  looking into the treatment of this disease by using a bit of myelin to sensitize the body. A bit like  when people with a peanut allergy get given little bits of peanut and then they become tolerant to it. More specifically I’m looking at two messengers in the immunology in the processes of this sensitization.

My Typical Day

Scurrying between the lab and office: doing experiments in the lab and then sitting at a computer analysing them.

I try and get in for 9 but usually it’s 9.30. Then I start by checking my emails and then working out all the concentrations for the reagents that I will need that day. I then venture into the lab and start my experiment which can range from staining cells for different cytokines to putting different samples on a gel and letting electricity separate them out. There is lots of waiting periods so during those I sit in the office, chat to those around me and analyse the experiments.

What I'd do with the money

Use it to help disadvantage students get to university.

The widening participation office in the university organises afternoons where students from disadvantage schools can come in and see what the university is really like – they get to do cool experiements like extracting DNA from a kiwi fruit or using a stimulator for different diseases. I would use the money towards supporting this.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Sociable, helpful, determined

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Mumford and Sons

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Swam with whalesharks

What did you want to be after you left school?

A doctor

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Of course!

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Gone skiing at a conference!

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My professors at university

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A doctor

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To not make stupid mistakes, to have a brain big enough to understand everything, to use that knowledge to develop the world into a better place.

Tell us a joke.

On a dark night out at sea, two lights are seen. An American naval ship signals to the other light: “Alter your course we are going to colide!”. The reply comes: “No, you alter your course”. The Americans getting a bit angry: “We are an American aircraft carrier, YOU alter your course!”. The reply comes:” We are a lighthouse, your call.”.

Other stuff

Work photos: