Keiran Stevenson earned his PhD at the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh. More specifically, he’s studyied in the field of synthetic biology, and performed his thesis research in the Pilizota lab. The laboratory’s overall aim is to engineer bacteria to better synthesize ethanol for biofuels production, a deceptively tricky task requiring live quantitative fluorescence microscopy, osmolarity regulation pathways, and stress response mechanisms. He’s also an experienced programmer in Python and MATLAB, and combines custom scripts with established frameworks like TensorFlow to help analyze massive numbers of cells automatically. He already has authorship on three scientific publications in well-trusted journals, including a first-author publication in Scientific Reports, demonstrating his contributions to making synthetic biology more quantitative and predictable.
He’s also been active outside the lab, having volunteered for the “Click” young arts group where he developed skills in video editing and presentation to create promotional materials for Perth, and at the Perth and Kinross Youth council where he gained skills in marketing, team work, event planning, and securing financial resources.
What really motivates him, though, is a challenge. He prefers solving problems rather than pure discovery. From a young age, he’s been a bit of an “engineer”, frequently taking things apart and putting them back together, occasionally to the annoyance of his parents. He’s straddled the line of understanding the world with practical applications ever since, including through his Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology, and his mixing of attending classes on fundamental biochemistry and human physiology with studies in more immediately tangible efforts like building a new, lower-cost automatic liquid handling robot and improving every-day techniques used in his lab.