I use a technique that measures nanometre-length distances in large biomolecules such as proteins or DNA. This helps to determine aspects of their structure which are not well studied by other biophysical methods. The developments I focus on are application led. For example this technique requires an endogenous label which is often added to a cysteine in a protein. However, often proteins in the cell have many cysteines so I am looking at alternative methods of adding the label which would considerably widen the application of the experiment. The spectrometer is in physics but I make proteins in biology and labels are made in chemistry.
Combining my career with a family is an ongoing project. I had six months maternity leave both times. After the first I returned full-time but after the second I returned at 0.7FTE for 15 months. The children attend nursery. It is helpful to have my husband in the same place but not in the same field. After the children's bedtime I will often go back into the lab. Usually, but not always, we can work out care between us if one of us needs to travel but we do less than otherwise. Teaching can be covered but not research if I need time off for care.