Ravinder Kanda

Favourite Thing: We don’t know everything there is to know about science. One discovery leads to more questions, and being the first person to find something totally brand new that no-one else in the world found, is a fantastic feeling!



School: Wolverhampton Girls High School, University: QMUL, Imperial College


BSc – Genetics, PhD – Human Genomic Diversity

Work History:

Universities (Birmingham, Imperial, Oxford), Industry (Anglia DNA), Teaching in various schools

Current Job:

Research Scientist


University of Oxford

Me and my work

Understanding why our DNA looks the way it does.

Only 2% of our DNA is actually genes – that is, the bits of DNA that describe your eye colour or your hair colour and other such characteristics that are inherited from your parents. The rest of the DNA, we’re still not sure what this actually does, or why its there. Around 8% of our DNA comes from viruses – that’s rather a lot! Humans are not unique in this way – virus DNA is found in the DNA of all mammals. Why is it there, and how did it get there?

My Typical Day

Looking at the DNA of a lot of humans

Using computers to look for patterns in the DNA. This gives us some idea why so much of our DNA comes from viruses.

What I'd do with the money

I’d use it to bring science to schools and get you to look at your own DNA!

We’d do an experiment where you purify your own DNA. It’s really easy and fun!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Definitely Not Sheldon!

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Too many to list!

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Tough one… Its a toss up between jumping out of a plane, and rock climbing in Thailand.

What did you want to be after you left school?

A vet

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Of course!

What was your favourite subject at school?


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

Talking to the public about my science!

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

University lecturers and teachers

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

A helicopter pilot. That sounds like the next coolest job.

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

I’d wish for a supercomputer so my work would go faster. A remote control that could pause the world so I’d have more time to do everything. And Storm’s powers out of X-Men… that would be cool!

Tell us a joke.

What’s brown and sticky? A stick!

Other stuff

Work photos: