Zoe is a PhD researcher at York Structural Biology Lab where she works on C-C bond forming enzymes derived from plants (check out https://bit.ly/2X8PDxB for more info). She’s a keen horse rider and cook and has recently been introduced to bouldering (which seems to almost be a compulsory hobby for structural biologists!). One day she’d love to be an astronaut and blames that entirely on watching too much StarTrek as a kid.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

One horse and far too many plants!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Science themed mugs seem to be the default gift from awkward relatives so I have a few of those.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I have been learning Swedish for about a year now. I’m not particularly good but it makes a nice change from science sometimes.

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I’d probably be a vet.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Something ecology related or astrophysics.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Iceland. I’ve wanted to go there for years.

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

To be lucky. Can you imagine how powerful that would be?!

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez for information on gendered data bias and all of Robin Hobb’s books for some of the best written fantasy novels you will ever come across.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Go climbing with my friends followed by a trip to the local bakery. Then either do some art or go and see the horses with my partner before cooking an awesome dinner and watching a good film.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Horses, science and books.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Hot chocolate. Coffee is bitter bean juice and I am not a fan.

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Stereotypical I know, but Harry Potter.

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

That you have to be the change you want to see in the world.

19 What got you excited in science?

StarTrek. I wanted to understand how they could do all these cool things.

20 What excites you about science now?

Constantly learning new things. It’s so exciting to read papers and find out what people are working on!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Spending an entire day reading. And I really mean that, literally moving from the sofa just for the essentials.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Falling asleep anywhere. Very useful when travelling, not so useful in lectures.

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. Good book, would recommend.

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Just write 200 crappy words a day and you’ll get there. It’s what’s getting me through the pandemic.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Be kind to yourself

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

A long walk

29 What is the last thing you watched?

A documentary on Queen Victoria and her nine children

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Probably a deer skull?

31 What is your favorite animal?

Horses or cats

32 What is your favorite book?

Any of Terry Pratchett’s books. They will make you cry with laughter.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Thai green curry with tofu and veg from the local takeaway.

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Winter solstice, when the days start getting longer again.

35 What is your favorite plant?

I have too many to pick just one!

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Marine iguana teeth look like little hands

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Cinnamon. Makes for great food and great scented candles.

39 What is your favorite sound?

Not hearing cars or planes or anything mechanical.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Physically, my hair. Being ginger is awesome.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Fika. It embodies so much of what is important in life.

42 What is your proudest moment?

Either getting into my PhD program after a difficult undergrad experience or else when one of the horses I train (best described as an over energetic teenager with 3 brain cells) was introduced to a friend’s severely disabled daughter and was a complete angel with her.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Apple tree, who doesn’t love apples?

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

All the small businesses and community they help to build.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Ants only poop as adult. They don’t have an exit to their digestive tract as larvae so when they moult they shed a whole ball of poo too.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Verena Resch @luminous_lab is an awesome scientific illustrator