Tess Newman

Thanks guys for putting me through to the final week - better get answering some of your tricky questions....

Favourite Thing: Definitely looking at things in microscopes – still exciting even now. And finding out about the world, it’s amazing both how much we know about the world, and the vast amounts that we don’t know. Also I like trying new things, cooking tasty food and growing plants and vegetables in my garden



Dayncourt School (1999-2001) Northampton High School (2001-2006)


University of Bath (2006-2011) Mechanical Engineering

Work History:

I’ve tried a few different things, including designing stages for shows and cruise ships, but I am finding my research work much more interesting – and you are your own boss


University of Bath

Current Job:

PhD Student and odd bits for the University

Me and my work

Currently researching for in PhD in tissue engineering – a really exciting area of medical science and engineering with occasional gory bits

At the moment I’m a 1st year PhD student – that means I have finished my 1st degree and am starting another one for 3 years! My research area is tissue engineering – not tissues as in Kleenex, but a really exciting area of medical science with some gory pictures at times…

Most tissue engineering research looks at growing or improving parts of the body. I’m hoping to find a new way of growing bones outside of the body, which could actually be implanted in people in the future – sometimes the body’s natural bone is damaged or injured, so needs replacing, just like a patch on your jeans when they get a hole. In the body however, new bone will eventually grow over the patch, and it will be living tissue again (That’s right – did you know bone is alive?)

My Typical Day

At the moment I’m looking at journal papers in my area and playing around with equipment down in the lab

I have an office that I share with other medical engineering PhD students, so I start my day in there – normally with a morning snack! I don’t have lessons or lectures, so I decide what I want to do that day in the morning. As I started my PhD in October, I am still finding out new things about my topic – there is a lot of information to learn, and it’s a mixture of physics, biology and engineering. So I need to be feeling pretty awake to take it all in! The best way to find out new information is by reading journal papers – these are written by scientists after they have finished an experiment, just like you write up experiments in school. As I am trying to research something that nobody has researched before, I can’t look everything up in a textbook, and have to search the internet for useful papers.

I am also starting to design my experiments, and organise the equipment and materials I will need. I am going to be using ultrasound – an inaudible sound wave. You may have come across this if you have younger brothers or sisters, as it is used to show what a baby looks like while it is still inside it’s mother’s womb. I need to learn how to use this equipment, so I am spending time in our laboratories playing with all the settings!

What I'd do with the money

I’d love to show students around my labs and ‘spend a day in the life’ with me

Doing a PhD is pretty cool, and I think it would be brilliant to spend this money showing students just how cool it can be. I’d like to invite some students to ‘spend a day in the life’ with me at Bath University – showing them round, putting on white coats in the lab and looking at the latest research, pretty much being me for a day – they might have some good ideas.

I could then help the students put on a presentation to give to their school/year/class – anything that encourages more students into this line of work is brilliant, as they are the brains of the future, and their is still so much more to find out.

The money would be used towards transport costs and food for the students, and should be enough to provide for several schools. There could even be a catch-up in a couple of months to see what else they/I have learnt since the first visit.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Inquisitive, enthusiastic and lively

Would you rather be a scientist or an athlete? And why?

Hmm…Scientist… I get to do a lot more different things in my day than an athlete would, as they have to spend a lot of time training. And you can still be famous!

If you could have a body super power, what would it be and why?

Definitely teleport. You could just pop to the seaside before dinner, or back to you bed for a quick 10min snooze during your break….

Which Olympic event would you most like to win? And why?

I used to be a rower, so I should say that…. But it would be brilliant to know that you were the fastest person in the world.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I had no idea! I just thought engineering looked interesting so I went to study that at university

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Honestly… I was such a good girl, I didn’t really get in trouble…

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

Using a 3D printer at university… 3D printing! Amazing

Tell us a joke.

Do you know any jokes about sodium? Na. (Sorry, pretty bad I know….)