Role: Second Year PhD student in the Department of Life Science, Faculty of Natural Science, Imperial College London
Subject Area: Tropical forest restoration
I am a second Year PhD student at Imperial, researching tropical forests in Malaysian Borneo. The area of jungle that I am studying has some areas of pristine forest and some areas that have been damaged, and it’s my job to look at the differences between them and find out how we can restore the degraded parts. I also have a seat on my local Parish Council and act as their Environmental advisor. Helping to shape policy to protect the environment is as important to me as doing the science to understand how the world around us is changing.
GCSE (or equivalent): Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Statistics, Art, ICT, Geography, French, English Language and English Literature.
A-level (or equivalent): Biology, Geography, Chemistry and AS Levels in English Literature and General Studies
• Master of Environmental Science, University of Southampton
• PhD in Tropical Forest Restoration (ongoing), Imperial College London
Details about Sarab
My research focusses on understanding how forests re-grow after they have been damaged by logging, and how we can help them do it faster and better. My next steps are to dig up tree roots and test ways that we can measure them accurately. The parts of a tree we can’t see are just as important as the parts we can!
I grew up watching Animal Planet on TV. Wildlife and nature advocates such as David Attenborough and Steve Irwin inspired me to love and care for the natural world. It was my dream to see all the wild places in the world and help to protect them.
Who is your STEM hero?
Rosalind Franklin, a British Chemist, known for her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA, though she never received proper recognition in her lifetime. She studied natural sciences and physical chemistry, focussing on the structure of first coal, then DNA, and then viruses. She didn’t let unenthusiastic supervisors, sexism or even sickness keep her from doing incredible work.
Most significant discovery/invention?
The discovery of germ theory, as it allowed us to start finding ways of preventing disease through sterilisation and vaccination. Revolutionised medicine and continues to save millions of lives.
Career options after study
- Ecologist doing badger, bat or tree surveys
- Environmental manager
- Environmental lawyer
- Policy advisor
- Working for an NGO or charity like WWF or Greenpeace
And so many more! Fisheries manager, oil spill responder, wildlife ranger are all examples of jobs that people who did my degree have gone on to do
I love fantasy books, films and tv. I’m in the middle of writing an epic fantasy trilogy with a theme of environmental protection, full of magic and pirates and princesses!