Jim O Doherty

Favourite Thing: Mess around with radioactive stuff!



University of Limerick, Ireland 2000-2006. Linkoping University Hospital, Sweden 2006-2008. University of Surrey, UK 2008-2010


Masters degree in Medical Physics and also a PhD in Physics

Work History:

I’ve worked in Washington DC, also in a hospital in Sweden, also in Ireland and now St Thomas’ Hospital in London

Current Job:

Research into finding and curing cancer using radioactive drugs


King’s College London

Me and my work

I’m responsible for research into new radioactive drugs for finding and treating cancer and making sure our scanners work OK every day

I work in a very small are of the hospital called the PET Department. And no, before you ask I don’t work in a vet! We use radioactive drugs which are targeted to certain cancer tumours so we can show them up under a special scanner and find out where they are in the body and how big (or small) they’ve gotten. We can then give these patients another type of targeted radioactive drug which destroys the cancer cells.
Its a very exciting area to be working in, and this research is proving lots of new stuff every day. And of course the people are very clever (a lot more than me!)

My Typical Day

have tea, research new drugs, have more tea, review patient scans, have more tea and have some project meetings

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have a “typical” day – it depends what kind of research studies we have running on that day. I normally have to talk to our doctors and technicians about certain scans and also work on new drugs, how they find certain types of tumours and how the drugs might affect the patient.

Like any job, there are some boring bits like checking that the scanners are working OK but luckily there is a lot more of the interesting stuff!

What I'd do with the money

Organise a Science Speak competition for scientists to explain what they do to other people in the public

The people in the public don’t know a lot about what scientists like me (and the other guys in this group) actually do on a day to day basis. Or even what we are supposed to do! So I would organise an event for people to come to and get scientists to explain what their job is, and why it is important.

Obviously the public would be able to vote and see who they thought had the coolest job!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

energetic, efficient and interested

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Pink Floyd – ask your dad who that is!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

A solo skydive

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

the power of invisibility, to be my own boss and a round the world plane ticket!

What did you want to be after you left school?

A Doctor so I’m not too far away!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes, especially when I was in classes for subjects I wasn’t interested in

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

Came up with a new way of assessing how much radiation certain organs can withstand

Tell us a joke.

Where does bad light end up? In a prism!

Other stuff

Work photos: