Long words and lab coats?


By Charlotte Bester | Wednesday 06 November 2013

As I prepared for a visit to one of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s labs, I was expecting long words and lab coats. Surely I would need a PhD to get in, I’m not a scientist. Will I even know what they’re talking about? What if they ask me a question? The nerves set in.

Arriving in London, my image was soon abolished. We met with the scientist leading this research at UCL, Dr Selina Wray.

Dr Wray (right) busting the myth that researchers are always in lab coats!

Dr Wray (right) is a Research Fellow at the Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL. 

Unlike my preconceived idea of what it would be like, the lab and the people in it were not scary at all. The atmosphere was friendly and already, I wanted to know what was behind every door. The whole place fascinated me. How can such a simple building be the key to discovering so many unanswered questions? It was clear that the people working there really loved what they were doing.

We met with a group of donors who, like me, were interested in learning more about dementia research and what can be done with a little generosity. As we stepped into the lab, I spotted Selina’s collection of Alzheimer’s Research UK merchandise – posters, stickers, fuzzy bugs! This place couldn’t be scary. She explained about her day-to-day role and made us all feel at ease in her presence. Knowing someone is that intelligent can be a little daunting when you don’t have the same knowledge of the subject, but she was so welcoming, friendly and fantastic at explaining the important work they are carrying out. It made everyone feel at ease and wanting to know more.

You don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate the amazing work being done. I loved experiencing first-hand the work I fundraise for and what it achieves.

A day in the life of a scientist

Find out what’s like to be a dementia research in our video, following Dr Wray on a typical day in her lab.

Tour our virtual lab

Lab-Header1You too can explore a research lab right now, from the comfort of your seat! Dementialab.org is the first ever virtual lab tour designed to show how new dementia treatments are developed. You can look down the microscopes, learn about drug trials and take an interactive journey through photo-realistic laboratories and hospitals.


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About the author

Charlotte Bester