|4 Mar 2022|
|Old Girls' Association|
Martha Clokie is Professor of microbiology at the University of Leicester. She heads a team of scientists focused on understanding how bacterial viruses function; work that she hopes will become part of a global international effort to solve the crisis of antibiotic resistance.
Martha’s love of biology was keenly nurtured at St Swithun’s School where she conducted her first microbiology project and was introduced to cutting-edge science equipment during a school trip. She studied biology at the University of Dundee before embarking on an MSc in Edinburgh, where she became fascinated with identifying genetic markers that showed how plants are related to each other. Her PhD at the University of Leicester enabled Martha to further develop her ideas in molecular ecology, using genetics to reveal unseen relationships.
A diversion into the study of cyanobacteria under the guidance of Professor Nick Mann at the University of Warwick took Martha all over the world and led her to the realisation that viruses could be used to treat bacterial infections in humans. This became the springboard for her career. She became a Professor at the University of Leicester in 2015. The work that she and her PhD and post-doctoral research team undertake encompasses ecology and evolution, DNA, RNA, protein, structural biology, drug development and the applied applications of viruses.
Martha writes "I didn’t leave school wanting to be a microbiologist but I did love biology. Becoming a scientist is not a quick journey or an easy one. But it is incredibly interesting, fun and rewarding. I recommend that pupils who have enquiring minds and a sense of adventure consider becoming a scientist."