Simon Park

Favourite Thing: Spending time in a dark room with my bioluminescent (glow in the dark) bacteria. Soooo relaxing



Dunsmore School, Rugby; University of Leeds, University of Nottingham


BSc (Hons), PhD

Work History:

University of Nottingham, Institute of Food Research, University of Surrey

Current Job:

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology


University of Surrey

Me and my work

I’m a scientist who sudies the bacteria that cause food poisoning, but when I’m not doing this, I champion the planets most important, but often overlooked lifeforms, its bacteria!

I’m a lecturer in microbiology and study the most important life forms on Planet Earth, its bacteria. I study the bacteria that give you food poisoning but these are the vast minority that make you ill. Most bacteria are harmless or even beneficial so I spend a lot of my time doing weird things to champion them!

My Typical Day

No day is ever the same, which is good if you get bored easily like me

I’m a night owl, not a lark, so I always get up later than I should and spend the rest of the day trying to catch up. A typical day can be filled with taking a lab class where students get to see the bacteria living on their mobile phones, doing research to find out how bacteria make us ill, or doing very boring admin. The worst part of the job!

What I'd do with the money

Use it to run a DIY Microbiology workshop for schools. Teachers and students

I’m really passionate about microbiology and trying to change people’s perceptions about bacteria which are very rarely dangerous and in reality are essential for all life on earth. I’m also into Citizen Science and would use the money to run a workshop to teach people how to make make media and grow bacteria using ingredients that you can buy at any supermarket

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Curious, Creative, Messy

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Oh dear! Has to be “Rush”. I’m that old. Have you ever heard of them?

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Sand Boarding in Namibia

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

I’d go for health not wealth

What did you want to be after you left school?

A Fireman

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not really, but I used to do things in Chemistry that I was supposed to.Only a few small fires, some bad smells and explosions

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

Making things that don’t normally do so, glow by genetic modification

Tell us a joke.

A photon walks into a hotel reception and asks for a room for the night. The receptionist, says “yes, would you like us to take your luggage” The photon replies “No thank you, I’m travelling light”

Other stuff

Work photos: