Dr Claire Stanley, who left Priestley with a passion for sciences and As in the subjects, is now conducting research at ETH Zurich – one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences.
During a return visit to college she met her former tutor Jan Costello and explained what she is doing now.
“It is fundamental scientific research because no one has done it before,” said Claire, who grew up in Birchwood.
“We are manipulating fluids on a micro scale in a controlled way to explore inter-organismal interactions, which could lead to the development of new antibacterials.”
Claire’s research is into the development of microfluidic technologies, which involves studying the interactions between bacteria, fungi and nematodes, which are microscopic worms found in soil.
It might be on a small scale, but it could have huge implications.
Claire and her colleagues are looking to develop potentially life-saving antibacterials as well as investigating ways their methods could help improve crop growth.
“I love the work that I do now,” said Claire, a former Birchwood High School pupil. “I get to collaborate with lots of other scientists, attend conferences around the world and teach students at a university level.”
Claire studied A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and German at Priestley College, which is recognised by the government as a leading provider of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths education.
She gained a 1st Class Honours degree in Chemistry from Durham University, where she was awarded the Michael Western Scholarship, and a PhD in Chemistry at Imperial College London.
Whilst at Imperial, she was awarded the Sir Alan Fersht Prize for producing the best overall Masters thesis and a prestigious scholarship from the Society of the Chemical Industry.
“One of the next steps for me will be encouraging and mentoring the next generation of scientists,” said Claire. “I would love to lead my own research group one day.”