Richard Sulston

Favourite Thing: Answering questions no one has been able to answer before.



Perins School 2004 – 2009; Peter Symonds College 2009 – 2011; University of Nottingham (Biochemistry) 2011 – 2014; University of Edinburgh (Cardiovascular Biology Masters) 2014 – 2015; University of Edinburgh (PhD) 2015 – 2018


A levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths; BSc Biochemistry; MSc Cardiovascular Biology

Work History:

Paper boy; Wedding hospitality; Lab placement (National Institute for Medical Research)

Current Job:

PhD Student


University of Edinburgh (funded by the British Heart Foundation)

Me and my work

I investigate the way hormones in the blood can make us healthier when we eat less food.

I am a currently in the first year of my PhD at Edinburgh University and I am looking at the role of a hormone that we think can help to make people healthier when they eat less food. There is some evidence that when animal or humans eat about 30%  less than their normal food intake they can live longer and are more healthy and less likely to develop diseases such as diabetes. At the same time, a hormone in the blood also increases and we think that this hormone is making people healthier. In my PhD I will try and find out if this is correct.

My Typical Day

Either doing experiments in the lab, analysing data or reading scientific papers.

My days can be very varied but most of the time I am either in the lab doing some experiments which can take anywhere between a few minutes and all day. Other days I will go through the data from my experiments and try to make sense of what I have found, making graphs to show what has happened and looking for interesting results. When I am less busy I will spend some time reading papers that other scientists around the world have written to stay up to date with the latest findings and discoveries.

What I'd do with the money

I would use the money to pay for school children to visit the lab and get some hands on experiments experience.

I decided I wanted to do a PhD when I was able to visit a lab and gain some experience in the world of science.  I would use the money to pay for a group of school children to come and visit the lab I work in and help do some experiments and allow them to discover what it is like to work or study as a scientist.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Patient, optimistic, enthusiastic

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Ben Howard

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Safari in Kenya

What did you want to be after you left school?

A vet

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Sometimes for late homework

What was your favourite subject at school?

PE and Maths

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

Getting accepted to do a PhD

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Wanting to discover new things

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


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

To be able to eat as much food as I like and not get fat; to be able to travel the world; for the weather to be better in Scotland.

Tell us a joke.

Why did the scarecrow win a Nobel Prize? He was outstanding in his field!

Other stuff

Work photos:

I live in the beautiful city of Edinburgh:


And work in The Queens Medical Research Institute: