Hi! I’m Lindsay and I am one of the scientists working on the Breathing Together project. I work in Belfast (where giants and dragons come from!) and we get cells from babies and kids as far away as Scotland. The nurses that take the samples send them over to us on aeroplanes so we can look after them until they are ready to use. My favourite part about growing the cells is when they grow little hairs which help to move snot and you can see them waving back and forth when you look down a microscope, they move so fast-it’s like they’re dancing!
I work a lot with a virus called respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV for short! RSV spreads really easily- everyone around the world has been infected with it by the time they are 2 years old. Some babies and kids get really sick with RSV, but we don’t know why. The kids that do get very sick with RSV very often get asthma when they are a bit older. We are trying to figure out if RSV causes asthma or if some people are just more likely to get both. This is why we love your cells! We grow your cells in the lab until we have lots and lots of them and then we can see what happens when we put RSV on them. Everyone’s cells are different and we look at the differences to see if we can figure out why someone might get asthma or not.
I really love my job. We get to use really fun things like microscopes and lasers, and we get to wear lab coats (mine is blue)!
This is our lab mascot, Booger! He keeps us company at the microscope.