Dr Michael Olanipekun for STEM in Action

Role: Postdoctoral Researcher, International Agency for Research on Cancer / World Health Organization

Subject area: Researching cancer using small molecules

Nationality: Nigerian and British

I recently completed my PhD at Imperial studying asbestos cancer (mesothelioma) using the small molecules found in this disease. Now I am a Postdoctoral Researcher studying other types of lung disease and cancers. I am a London native who grew up aspiring to study at Imperial and now I have done it!

Interview with Dr Michael Olanipekun, who recently completed his PhD studying asbestos cancer (mesothelioma) using the small molecules found in this disease in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction at Imperial.

Interview with Michael

Hear from Dr Michael Olanipekun, who is studying cancer and its links to metabolism, and why he wanted to study these topics. 


EducationGCSE (or equivalent): Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths, English Literature, English Language, French, Religious Studies, Art and Design and ICT

A-Level (or equivalent): Biology, Chemistry, Art and Design and an AS Level in Maths

• BSc Biochemistry, Kingston University
• MRes in Biomedical Research, Imperial College London
• PhD in Clinical Medicine, Imperial College London


Detail about Michael


My research

I study small molecules (metabolites) to investigate various diseases such as cancer, heart disease and asthma. Metabolites have important roles in human health and can tell us much about a disease.

My inspiration

My inspiration

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in hospitals. Rather than aspiring to be like the medical doctors that treated me, I wanted to understand the science behind the treatments.

My STEM hero

Who is your STEM hero?

Sidney Farber, a pathologist known as the father of chemotherapy. His research was focused on curing childhood cancers with chemotherapy and has had a big impact on many other diseases.

closeup of slide on microscope

Most significant discovery/invention?

The microscope, an invention so pivotal to science that it has been improved over multiple centuries! This invention has shown us cellular structures, micro-organisms and even single molecules!

DNA Foundry closeup of lab activity

Career options after study

  • Scientist (computational) in the Pharma Industry
  • Biotech start-ups
  • Consultancy
  • Patent law
  • Education
  • Medical writing
cyclist with red phone booth

My hobbies

I spend my free time playing video games, watching anime, cycling and taking and editing photos.

Michael talks about his research into metabolism in human health and disease.

Michael talks about his research

Michael talks about his research into metabolism in human health and disease.

Learn more about others working in this area