Profile – Dr Steven Quinn, University of York

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Dr Steven Quinn


Dr Steven Quinn

Job title:

Senior Lecturer & Alzheimer’s Research UK Fellow

Place of work / study:

University of York

Area of Research:

Biophysics; Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging; Protein-Protein and Membrane-Protein Interactions

How is your work funded?

Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Tell us a little about yourself:

Dr Steven Quinn obtained an MPhys in Physics from the University of St. Andrews (2009) and an MSc in Radiation, Oncology and Biology from the University of Oxford (2010). After his PhD (St Andrews, 2013) and a postdoctoral position at the University of Glasgow (2013-2016), he took up a Lindemann Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA (2016-2017). In 2017, he was appointed to a Lectureship at the University of York and was awarded an Alzheimer’s Research UK Fellowship in 2019. Steven is now a Senior Lecturer, and his group uses microscopy techniques to interrogate the structure, dynamics and function of single biomolecules implicated in dementia.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

Aberdeen is where my wife and I held hands for the first time. We went to the Scotland v Tonga rugby match on a bitterly cold Novemeber day – not a good result for Scotland (we lost 15-21), but it ended up being a good result for me!

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

2 reasons: (1) My grandparents both had dementia and I wanted to try and make a difference in research. (2) The advanced microscopes that I learned to build were offering new insights into molecules associated with other forms of disease (e.g. cancer), but their application to proteins implicated in dementia was only at an early stage, and this stimulated my interest.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

Negative results or failed experiments are an important part of solving the scientific jigsaw puzzle. Learn to understand why an experiment failed, or a negative result was obtained, and use this new piece of knowledge to your advantage in designing the next.

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Only read if you wish to learn the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything…

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