Students Staff

16 June 2017

Meet our technicians – Julie Arvidson Molecular Biology Technician

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 1:53 pm
An image of our technicians

Our team of Biological Sciences technicians. Julie is pictured front left.

Our Technicians perform a crucial role. To find out more about their fascinating work, we spoke to Julie Arvidson, Cell and Molecular Biology Technician in the School of Biological Sciences. 

  • Name Julie Arvidson
  • Job title Cell & Molecular Biology Technician
  • Which department do you work in? School of Biological Sciences
  • Are you part of a team? Yes, I’m part of a great  team working in such diverse areas as the Coral Reef Unit, Core Services, Plant Productivity, Proteomics, Teaching Labs and Cancer Biology – which are just a few of the Research and Teaching areas.
  • How long have you been at Essex?  Since 1989, and as you would expect I’ve seen some monumental changes within the School and University as a whole.
  • What is your role/your daily responsibility? My role, along with my colleagues, is to support Research, embed Health and Safety, maintain facilities, teach practical skills to our undergraduates, postgraduates, and visitors. My area is principally Mammalian Tissue Culture, for cancer biology and immunology. I also train my Estates colleagues in Biohazard Awareness.
  • Are there any projects you’re working on that are particularly exciting/interesting? I’m not directly involved with the Research anymore but I find the Research in Cancer Biology very exciting with both Greg Brooke and Elena Klenova developing ways to categorise and destroy cancer cells, and Chris Cooper’s Research into new oxygen carriers to replace blood is amazing.
  • How did you get into this role? My education didn’t quite go to plan so I started working as a School Science Technician for my old school. Fate brought me to Colchester and despite applying for a Plant role I was chosen as an Animal Tissue Culture Technician, working with some inspirational Academics. As my interest in Health and Safety  grew I was asked to train colleagues in Biohazard Awareness as well as looking after the Radioisotope laboratory.
  • What qualifications do you have/ what study path did you take? I have an HNC which I studied part-time before joining the team here, and then was supported by the School to study part-time for a Cell & Molecular Biology Degree from Anglia Ruskin University. I have just completed a Certificate in Health and Safety and I am now continuing with the Diploma course to complement my role. Never think it’s too late to study!
  • What sort of skills does being a technician require? This is a hard question as my colleagues have  a huge variety of skills; from Amanda who has tremendous organising skills, Phil and John who have great skills with complex analytical equipment, Sue who is so green- fingered and meticulous in running our Plant Growth facilities, to Russell whose skills enable him to organise very successful diving field trips to Indonesia and maintain the Coral Reef tanks.  Resourcefulness, observational skills and attention to detail  are all important, but over 1,000 skills have been identified by the Science Council for technical posts.
  • What advice would give someone interested in becoming a technician? This is a fantastic time to think about becoming a Technician as there is a sudden realisation that by 2020 the UK will need around 700,000 new Technicians. There are new initiatives to recognise and support Technical staff with Professional Registration, Apprenticeships and Papin Awards recognising Technical contributions  across all areas.  We are now included in Athena Swan awards and the University’s courses allow personal development as never before.
  • Tell us something unusual about yourself, a hobby, an interest, something we might be surprised by I still own my racy Honda motorbike, Alex, who took me to Cambridge to study for my degree.  I’m planning to get him back into work this summer.

Left to right; our technicians pictured, are:

  • Julie Arvidson
  • Lynwen James
  • Farid Benyahia
  • Julie Double
  • Phil Davey
  • Jackie Maidwell
  • Gregor Grant
  • Elizabeth Welbourn
  • Amanda Clements
  • David Knight
  • Tania Creswell-Maynard
  • Sue Corbett
  • Sally-Ann Sharp
  • Giles Ward
  • Chris Clow

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