Zach Dixon

Thrilled to have won! :) Thanks everyone!

Favourite Thing: To find out new things! Each experiment has the potential to change a lot about the way we understand something – this is really exciting!



Jericho Primary School (1996-2003), Whitehaven School (2003 – 2009), Newcastle University (2009 – Present).


Degrees; Master of Research in Cancer, Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences, A levels; Biology (A), Psychology (B), I.C.T. (B), As levels; English Literature (B) Chemistry (C), GCSEs; 10 (Grades A-C).

Work History:

Lifeguard (Whitehaven), Shop assistant at B&M and Iceland (Whitehaven & Newcastle upon Tyne), Laboratory Assistant at the Center for Bacterial Cell Biology (Newcastle University).

Current Job:

PhD Student at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University.


My project is funded by Cancer Research UK.

Me and my work

I am looking for a way to kill blood cancer.

Cancer isn’t like other diseases, you can’t catch it like a cold. Cancer happens when cells in the body misbehave and grow out of control. I study cancer of the blood, an example of this is leukaemia.

Today, thanks to hard working researchers, leukaemia treatment is very successful and many people are often cured! Its my job to look for ways to cure those people who have very stubborn forms of blood cancer.

I absolutely love what I do and I am inspired by the people I work with. Battling cancer is truly a team effort that I am proud to be a part of.

My Typical Day

Experiment on my cells, feed them, then work on the computer.

I grow human cells in flasks! Scroll down to see a drawing of a normal human cell.

On a normal day I check up on my cells to make sure they are healthy and to see whether or not they need fed. After that I use the cells for experiments, I want to know all about them, down to the tiniest detail, so I use lots of different machines and techniques to do this.

After I have finished my experiment in the laboratory I sit down at a computer and look at all my results, putting them together so they make more sense. I then edit my calendar to organise my work for the following days.

This might not seem like a lot to do at first, but in science it is important to carry out the same experiment more than once so we can be sure of our findings!

What I'd do with the money

DNA extraction kits for all classes!

I’d like the money to benefit all the classes that were involved in the Xenon Zone.

So I’d hope to get DNA extraction kits for each class – so you can do an experiment to extract the DNA from strawberries and other fruits!

DNA is the instructions in the cells of all living things – and it looks really cool so I’d like the classes to be able to have a look for themselves!

Any other suggestions for use of the money are welcome too! 🙂

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Happy, Inquisitive, Friendly .

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Guns N Roses.

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Visited all the theme parks in Florida!

What did you want to be after you left school?

A Scientist!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

From time to time – nothing major!

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

This is a tough one because I get to do some pretty cool things! I’d have to say the huge experiment I did recently looking at all the genes in my cells.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My A-level biology teachers.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A musician, playing guitar in a rock band!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Health and happiness for my friends and family, to make a prize worthy scientific discover and I wouldn’t mind winning the lottery either!

Tell us a joke.

What did the biologist wear on his first date? Designer genes.

Other stuff

Work photos:


This is a drawing of a normal human cell, the building blocks that make up your body. There are 100 trillion cells in the human body!



This is an example of what my cells look like under a microscope!



And this is how I grow my cells, in these flasks using the ‘growth media’ in that bottle!



This is my lab bench, it’s where I do most of my experiments!



This is a picture of myself and some of the other dedicated Cancer Research UK researchers outside the Northern Institute for Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman Building in Newcastle!


This is my pet tortoise, Perry! He loves lettuce and being warm!