Meet the Researchers


Joanne Pennock


Photo of Jo Pennock

Research Area: Gut Immunology

What is it like being a researcher?

Being a researcher is exciting, rewarding and fun, even though there are days when experiments don’t work and the results make no sense at all! Whatever you work on, doing research is all about detective work and solving puzzles.

What inspired you to become a researcher?

My fourth form Chemistry teacher Mr Dryden, inspired me to go on to further education. He told me that he’d always wanted to do a PhD, but wasn’t clever enough (although he was). I don’t know the real reason that he hadn’t chosen a research career, but his encouragement set me on a life of problem solving.

What is the best thing about being a researcher/your job?

Brain storming! I love being in a team trying to find a way to answer a big picture question.

If you could go back in time which scientist/researcher/historical figure would you like to meet and what would you ask them?

I would love to meet Dorothy Hodgkin. I would ask her how she kept track of all the different strands of her life and achieved so much.

What do you do in your free time?

I take photos and make things with my children. At the moment they are really keen on papier mache. The rest of the time I think about immunology :-) .

What is the first ‘science’ you remember doing?

Actually it was cooking with my Gran. She was a fantastic cook and explained how baking powder makes cakes rise.

What discovery or invention could you not live without?

The washing machine. It’s a life-time saver.