UCL News


Seven questions with Chris Lovejoy

1 June 2017

This week, meet Chris Lovejoy, a PhD student studying neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Neurology in the lab of Dr Selina Wray and Dr Tammaryn Lashley.

Seven questions with Chris Lovejoy Chris shares the hidden gems he has discovered in Bloomsbury and explains why he is inspired by Phil Bunker, the sponsor for his scholarship.

1. Why are you interested in neurology and what do you plan to do in the future?

Although neurology has advanced massively in the last 20 years or so, the human brain is still somewhat of a mystery and so very complex. Being able to use stem cells to grow neurons and try and understand the brain is very interesting.

Then being able to apply this to such an important disease as Alzheimer's is fascinating and makes me feel like my project, which involves involves patient derived pluripotent stem cells and using them to grow 3D neuronal tissue, can hopefully uncover something of value to the scientific community.

I would love to continue researching, possibly in a different country, but also keep up my public engagement side of things as it's an aspect I really enjoy.

2. What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

I have got involved with the UCL Pint of Science + Creative Reactions team, which has been really fun and rewarding. Putting on events that push science in to the public sphere but also merge art and creativity in to a traditionally very logical subject.

Also the philanthropy and campaign teams at UCL always put on great events to push UCL donations, and helping with those has been very rewarding, especially as a scholarship or donation may come out of the events to help someone through a course.

3. Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

I would say Chatime in the Brunswick Centre. It does really nice Taiwanese Bubble Tea, which is so refreshing in the summer.

And then for coffee, Half Cup on Judd Street, on the way in to Bloomsbury from Kings Cross is great. Nice coffee, nice nibbles, and big windows were you can people watch while you drink or chat with friends or work colleagues.

4. Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

Science and Natural History museums: Although cliché, I love their late night openings. You can wander around with your mates and a bottle of wine, talking to the working scientists about their very interesting work. Highly recommended.

Beavertown Brewery: Near Tottenham Hale station, this is one of my favourite places to grab a drink on the weekend. Really tasty interesting beers with amazing art work and design on the cans and decorating the brewery itself. On a sunny day you just can't beat it.

God's Owns Junkyard: Finally this gem in Walthamstow is such a cool place. The owner and original creative force behind this place has sadly passed away, but it is bring run in his memory and now has a small café inside. It's an old industrial site with hundreds, maybe thousands, of neon art works, all lit up, along with a few other reclaimed pieces of art.

Great place to chill out, take visitors or just admire the strange art work. Plus, when you've finished, there is a gin palace next door with over 100 gins on offer.

5. If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

That's a difficult question. Maybe by funding projects that show UCLs innovation and diversity by bringing together very different departments to collaborate on projects more. I think it would get people talking and I love the idea of dissimilar kinds of academics working on something very different. It's what's needed sometimes for interesting revelations and research ideas.

6. Who inspires you and why?

I don't think I have one person that inspires me. I think it's a mixture of old scientists, like Edward Jenner and Robert Hooke. Reading their stories or visiting exhibitions on them inspire you to do more experiments and work harder towards your goal, as does the great team I work with at UCL.

But also Phil Bunker who is the sponsor for my scholarship. Being able to send him images of my 3D cultures, explaining certain principles and seeing him get really interested certainly inspires me to keep pushing, especially when things don't go to plan, as often happens in research.

7. What would it surprise people to know about you?

Well before joining UCL, I worked at Channel 4 for three years. I used to help put together music shoots and shows, even having a cameo or two when we didn't have the extras we needed. Very different industry but I certainly learned a lot from my time there, and it was a bit wild and great fun too of course.

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