Simon Bennett

Favourite Thing: Learning new techniques and the supportive environment.



William Parker School and 6th Form, got very mediocre GCSEs and took 3 years at 6th form as I did not get the grades the first time round.


I studied biochemistry at Imperial College London, it was hard but a lot of fun.

Work History:

After my degree I worked as a research assistant for about a year at Imperial for some lectures and professors I knew.


University College London

Current Job:

I am doing a PhD in neuroscience.

Me and my work

I trying to learn more about how the brain wires itself together in the first weeks after birth.

I measure electrical impulses that run around a part of the brain called the hippocampus in the first couple of weeks after birth, my lab is concerned primarily with the how these electrical signals are generated and modified. These currents that are found in the immature brain are thought to be important for developing a wiring network that can changed and/or strengthened in later life as you learn and forget. The hippocampus is important for learning and memory, particularly converting short-term recollections into long-term memories, it is also required for spatial memory and reasoning.


My Typical Day

My days are varied but mostly I prepare brain slices in the morning that I then record electrical impulses from.

I have to prepare the brain slices very quickly and in cold solutions to help minimise neuronal death, otherwie they would be useless. I record electical currents from the neurons, using very small and fragile glass electrodes, within the hippocampal circitry. I then use different drugs and toxins to block different parts of the cell to pin-point which parts are important for generating and modifying these signals.

What I'd do with the money

Pay for science equipment in schools.

The practical side of science is very important, I think it helps to learn how lab work is done and also cements theoretical knowledge. This money could be used to provide essential basic equipment to a deprived school.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Persistent, Patient and Relaxed.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Lots but probably my favorite song is: Royksopp – what else is there (trentemoller remix)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Quad-biking in Morocco.

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

More spare time, I would like to travel more, have a massive house where my friends could all come and stay.

What did you want to be after you left school?

A scientist of some sort.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes, quite a lot.

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

Teach and support others while they are new and inexperienced.

Tell us a joke.

Dwarf shortage.