An interview with Bini Claringbold

Name: Bini Claringbold

Current Job: PhD Student

Scientific Discipline/Field: Organic synthesis, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry

Country: UK

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q,+, etc.): B, P

Twitter or other social media handle: @BiniClaringbold

What does your job involve?

My current research involves synthesising a series of different compounds (sequenced defined polymers) that can disrupt the protein-protein interactions of a cancerous protein that is responsible for a third of all human cancers and (at the time of writing this) has no effective treatments! So ultimately what I am doing is using a new approach to tackle an old problem.

How did you get to this job (education etc.)?

My science education has taken me all over the place honestly! I did my undergrad degree in Chemistry at the University of Reading, before moving on to a postgraduate degree in Analytical Toxicology at King’s College London. Between both of these I developed an interest in that fine line between chemistry and biology and knew I wanted to work within that area. So when I was looking for a PhD this project seemed to be a perfect combination of both!

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

I don’t think it has affected my decisions as of yet, but I do worry about the limitations that I might come across in the future.

Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?

Personally, I have had nothing but positive experiences among people I come out to. The reactions vary from indifferent to very supportive which has been great for me.

Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated.)?

My main scientific role model has always been Sir David Attenborough – I always wanted to be working somewhere where I could have that much passion and my love for exotic animals spiralled into looking into venoms which in turn lead to toxicology. My other STEM role models include Dorothy Hodgkin and Janet Vaughan, two people who did not let being a woman (which for some reason mattered at the time) stop them from being amazing scientists.

What are your plans for the future?

I really enjoy writing about all kinds of science and hope for a future in publishing or editing after my PhD. Outside of academia, I also make my own gins (Bin’s Gins) and hope to experiment more with that!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I really hope one day STEM is less heteronormative, but am very optimistic that the future seems to be heading this way.

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