LMCB - Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology


Interview with Sian Culley

What got you into science?
At school, many years ago,
“What job do I want? I know!”,
Medicine was my dream,
But blood makes me scream,
And that was a pretty big blow.
I was studying three sciences and maths,
(I had a soft spot for graphs).
So to uni I went,
And I was confident,
That I’d be able to make a great living by studying Cell Biology and Particle Physics.*

Tell us about your professional journey to the LMCB.

I did my Physics PhD,
In photophysics of microscopy,
The whole thing was rough,
Academia is tough!
So I applied to the LMCB.

But the job in my mind wasn’t this;
I wanted to give research a miss.
I desired to be
Super-res facility,
But Ricardo decided to resist.

Instead he tried to convince
Me that research would not make me wince.
So I joined his regime
In 2014,
And I’ve been stuck with him ever since!
What’s keeping you busy in lab these days in the lab? (Short summary of your talk and other projects)

Every day I analyse
Images (with code, not just eyes).
Super-res is great,
But artefacts I hate!
Your data must contain no lies.

While image quality is still my main squeeze,
I still have biologists to please.
I’m trying to obtain
In the imaging plane,
Sulfolobus dividing with ease.

On the image analytics scene,
A recent side-project has been
With Gautam Dey,
Imaging Pombe (hurray!)
And localizing nuclear envelope proteins.

One important thing is, of course,
Making my tools open-source.
My plugins are for Fiji,
To use them should be easy,
Or else I’ll be full of remorse.

How and where do you see yourself in 5 years?

To stay in the whole research loop,
I’d like to start my own group.
The applications are hell.
It’s not going well,
But I’ll get there eventually! (I hope)

What do you do for fun?

My hobbies are numerous indeed,
Sometimes I just sit at home and read.
Cricket makes me smile,
I run many miles,
But rarely at impressive speed.

I also love squash and football,
Any sport, in fact – I’ll play them all.
My piano playing is lame,
But I persist all the same,
While the neighbours bang angrily on the wall.

A cause very dear to my heart
Is trying to play my own part
In helping achieve
Gender equality, and I believe,
Conference speakers are a good place to start.

I curate an online database**,
Of women who are all really ace,
At microscopy,
So organisers can see,
That an all-male program is a disgrace.

*This was beyond even my poetic crowbar-ing skills