Elaine Marshall

Favourite Thing: When you are the first person to know something in the whole world it is really, really exciting.



University of Stirling and Edinburgh


Highers, BSc, Doctorate

Work History:

University and government

Current Job:

Project Research Manager


University of Edinburgh

Me and my work

I try to understand how a cell regulates expression from its genetic material (DNA). I am trying to understand why, when this process goes wrong this sometimes lead to disease or abnormalities.

I’ve studied how a group of hormones known collectively as “steroids” affect gene expression in processes such as blood pressure, stress response and inflammation.  My favorite hormones however are the reproductive hormones.  These hormones regulate development and fertility.

My Typical Day

Read papers, grant writing, gene modelling,read papers, grant writing, go to meetings, read papers, grant writing, …etc, etc,etc…

Unfortunately I am not in the lab any more and I miss the hands on research sooooo much.  Now I spend all of  my time helping others do their active research.  I advise others on their experiments, read papers and reports carry out analysis on results we and other have.  The most important thing I am doing right now is writing grants to win more money for our lab to do even more research.  This involves reading a lot of scientific  papers and designing new experiments which prove our hypothesis.

What I'd do with the money

I would buy scientific equipment for my local school.

Over the last year I have been teaching science and heath topics to pupils in local schools in my area.  This has involved giving lectures or doing small practical classes with them.  I firmly believe that the best way to learn science is to  experience it.  Even the simplest experiments help you grasp or appreciate the wonder of science.   Sadly I have found that the schools really need resources even to preform the simple experiments and I have resorted to buying ingredients, sourced or borrowed small pieces of equipment to share with the pupils so they can see/feel what is involved.


With the money I would either donate it to the local schools so they could buy equipment for experiments or access to online resources which will give the access to up-to-date science online eg – journals or science sites

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

bubbly, honest, friendly

Who is your favourite singer or band?

At the moment – Green Day

What's your favourite food?

any kind of roast

What is the most fun thing you've done?

microlite flight

What did you want to be after you left school?


Were you ever in trouble in at school?

yes -for talking too much!

What was your favourite subject at school?

biology (and art equally)

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

discovered novel genes regulated by a steroid hormone, androgen, in women

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My Dad

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


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

1) More time with my friends and family, 2) sing tunefully, 3) be just a little bit taller …

Tell us a joke.

What’s the difference between a mathematician and a scientist? A mathematician thinks that two points are enough to define a straight line while a scientist wants more data!

Other stuff

Work photos: