Sarah Harvey

Had our last live chat, that's so sad!

Favourite Thing: When something works! It’s such an amazing feeling when you get a new result knowing that no one else in the world knows it!



Nonsuch High School (1999-2006), Oxford University (Biological Sciences 2006-2009), Warwick University (Life Sciences PhD 2009-2013)


PhD Life Sciences, BA Biological Sciences, A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Geography, AS Maths

Work History:

Chessington World of Adventures (Summer 2006), University of Warwick (2013 onwards)

Current Job:

Research Scientist


University of Warwick

Me and my work

Like us, plant have immune systems and I work on understanding these so we can make healthy plants!

I just finished my PhD (so am now officially Dr Sarah woop!) at Warwick and just started working as a full time research scientist! I work on potato blight which is a disease which causes potatoes to rot, also infecting things like tomatoes and raspberries. My work is focusing on how the disease is able to avoid the immune responses of the plant and seeing whether we can make plants that are more resistant to disease with the eventual intention of helping farmers grow healthy crops.

In my spare time I do archery (I have my own bow which is turquoise and beautiful!) and also love baking, especially for cake club at work. I also like running and training for events, hopefully can do another half marathon this year if stop being lazy and actually train! I have also recently got hooked on twitter @seharvey88 !

My Typical Day

Lab work, making sure my plants haven’t prematurely died and drinking lots of tea! (and cake on Tuesdays! :D)

I get up as late as possible, have now mastered the skill of leaving the house in 10 minutes flat. Then I usually panic because there are no parking spaces left at work!

What I do during the day is really varied! Sometimes I have lots of 30 minute tasks and sometimes I have a protocol to follow which takes 5 hours straight! But it is usually a mix of doing molecular biology like growing bacteria and cloning, or growing plants and infecting them with stuff! We have a lovely technician in our lab group who takes super care of our plants which is good else mine might die before their time through lack of water! I also have some days where I have computer work to do, although those days usually end up with a large amount of time spent on twitter…

What I'd do with the money

Put it towards science events like the Plant Doctors stand at the Big Bang fair!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Friendly, Enthusiastic, Hard-working

Who is your favourite singer or band?

One Republic (but changes regularly, yay for Spotify!)

What's your favourite food?

Apple crumble

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Visiting Niagara Falls, although going on The Smiler at Alton towers was also pretty good!

What did you want to be after you left school?

Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not really, except regular class detentions for being noisy in art.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Graphics and/or food tech!

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

Extracted my own DNA! And gone to a conference in Sydney…

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

One of our lecturers at Uni, and watching too many episodes of CSI!

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

Probably something involving computer games

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

To beat my half marathon PB, to buy a house and that I wasn’t allergic to cats!

Tell us a joke.

Why are pirates called pirates? Because they arrrrrrrrrrr.

Other stuff

Work photos:

myimage1 Here we are setting up an experiment in the plant lab – we had to randomise the plants so it got a bit chaotic with plants everywhere!

myimage2 Here are my plants all ready for me to harvest after they’ve set seed.

myimage3 We can see if the plants are infected using a stereo microscope such as this.

myimage4 Protein work involves pretty colours 🙂