Katy Kellett

Favourite Thing: Synthetic chemistry



Newlands Girls’ School (2000-2007), Loughborough University (2007-2011), University of Hertfordshire (2012-now)


MChem in Medicinal Chemistry

Work History:

Huntington Life Sciences, University of Hertfordshire

Current Job:

Teaching and Research Assistant


University of Hertfordshire

About Me

A nerd and a geek all rolled into one, with a passion for country music, chemistry and every animal.

I live with my friends in Hertfordshire. I have terrible taste in music (according to all my friends) but who doesn’t love country music! I pretty much love every TV programme, i get addicted to them very quickly. My current favourite is “How to Get Away With Murder” (which concerned my fiance a tad at first!).

I think I have planned my entire future around being able to own as many dogs as possible, as life really isn’t complete without them I’ve decided.

I studied Chemistry at Loughborough University because of some amazing chemistry teachers at my school, and I only grew to love it more and more throughout my degree. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

My Work

I work with drugs of abuse to find new and inventive ways to detect them for both police offers and doctors.

I work on the concept of host-guest chemistry. This is simply the idea of using one chemical to be able to detect another chemical. It is often described as the lock and key mechanism, which chemical A will only interact with Chemical B. Using this idea I find chemicals that will only interact with the drugs of abuse that I am interested in, this way if someone goes into hospital having overdosed or is ill from something doctors should be able to very quickly determine what the drug is and treat them. Time is always of the essence in these situations, so it needs to be quick and easy!

The other half of my work is analyzing street samples to see what is actually in them! Most of the time its not what it says on the Tin!

My Typical Day

coffee and a bagel…then straight into the lab trying to make new chemicals!

To be honest every day is different, and that is what is so good. Some days I will spend it in the lab making new chemicals, some days I will be testing these chemicals to make sure I have made what I wanted to. I use instruments such as NMR, HPLC and Mass spectrometry to do this. Some days I just spend at my desk either reading new literature to help me learn more and give me ideas on work I could do. I also do a lot of writing as well, journals and my thesis! Other days we have street samples that need analyzing, this is always fun!


What I'd do with the money

Try and use it to help disadvantaged students get a head start to develop their passion for chemistry

I like the idea of the head start courses, but some people cant afford these and I don’t feel like they should miss out on such opportunities just because of money. Everyone who loves science should get a chance to explore their interests. I would like to offer this money up to people to explore their interests without having to worry about the money.

Also the RSC runs many amazing events for students to discover chemistry and the sciences, and although a lot of bursaries are available, there is never enough! I would like to help give more people the opportunity to learn what i learnt, chemistry is cool! and can give you a job that would will look forward to doing every day.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Curious, Enthusiastic, Sarcastic

Who is your favourite singer or band?

It changes every week but currently, Anderson East

What's your favourite food?

potato…in any form

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Travelling around China

What did you want to be after you left school?

A chemist!

Were you ever in trouble at school?

not really no

What was your favourite subject at school?

Chemistry and PE

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

Presented my work in front of people I truly admire in the field.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My school teachers…specifically Dr.C.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Horse whisperer

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

Relax more, win a noble prize (you never know), watch less trashy TV.

Tell us a joke.

What is the most important rule in chemistry? Never lick the spoon!

Other stuff

Work photos: