Hephzi Tagoe

Eviction week :-)

Favourite Thing: Nothing specific really, just enjoy the experiemental process of trial and error. I get super hyper and excited when things work. (eventually!!!)



Kingston University, London. 2010 – 2011 Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge,2004 – 2007 Sharnbrook Upper, Bedfordshire 2001 – 2003


MSc Pharmaceutical Science with management studies, BSc(Hons) Biomedical Science, GCE(A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths)

Work History:

Abbott Diagnostics (Senior Technical Operations Scientist) Antitiope Limited (Research Scientist), Innova Biosciences(Protein Scientist)

Current Job:

PhD Student


UCL Institute of Child Health

Me and my work

I work with skin cells (keratinocytes) to find out what causes some people to have rough scaly skin and hopefully help find a cure

I’m working on a condition known as hyperkeratosios which basically means the over production of skin cells. This condition is associated with many skin diseases. A simple example is eczema which infact is one of the mildest forms of hyperkaratosis associated with skin disease. An example of a more extreme condition is Autosomal Recessive Congenital  Ichthyiosis (ARCI). You should check out pictures on google.

No one knows what goes wrong in the body to cause hyperkeratosis and this is what I’m trying to find out (Who is/are the guilty culprits) so we can fix it.

Since we don’t know the cause, we can’t cure it. Hyperkeratosis can only be treated and sufferers have to endure a life time of various cream applications and other various skin maintenance therapies.

My Typical Day

While no two days are the same, on an average day, I’ll feed my skin cells, harvest the fully grown ones and run various tests on them whiles making time for tea,nibbles ofcourse and a bit of reading and writing

I’m currently looking at a selection of proteins which I think may be responsible for causing hyperkeratosis. Most of the work is done on rat keratinocytes (skin cells) at the moment. So on a typical day, I look after the cells and if they are ready to be tested, I’ll add my protein of interest to them, leave them for some time (could be anything from a fews hours to several days) and test them at a later date to see if it made any difference to how the cells are behaving.

If I observe anything interesting then I investigate further using various tests.

Techniques/Tests  I use at the moment include, Cell culture (maintaing and treating my cells), Western blotting (to idnetify my proteins of interest), Immunofluorescence (Looking under the microscope to see what’s happening to the cells and my protein of interest), PCR (more detail information on what effect the protein of interest has on the cells).

When I can fit in some time out of the lab, I do some reading and research on what other people working on skin diseases have done for advise.

Ofcourse there’s always time for tea and food. 🙂

What I'd do with the money

The money will go towards a science fair (Big Biology Day) I run in Chelmsford (Sandford Mill Museum) yearly

I organise a yearly Science fair known as Big Biology Day as part of Biology week in Chelmsford Essex at the local Sandford Mill Museum. It’s a very picturesque location surrounded with nature and lots of space for various hands on activities.

The fair is an all day hands on activity for the whole family to enjoy and this year it’ll be on Sunday 2nd August. The money will go towards getting the word out and having more exciting exhibits and shows on display for all to enjoy. Save the date and join us on Sunday 2nd August. It’s free.  We’re on twitter @BBD_Essex where you can see some pictures from last year’s event.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Bubbly, Serious, Don’t like rules. (Yer kinda got a jekyl and hyde personality)

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Beyonce, she works hard, makes beautiful music and is great in concert

What's your favourite food?

hmmm…. probably noodles, nice spicy meat (not necessarily together)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Going Ape! Seemed like a great idea till my feet was off the ground. Arghhh

What did you want to be after you left school?

A Medic

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Ofcourse not :)

What was your favourite subject at school?


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

Being a STEM Ambassador

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My love for biology & interest in health and disease

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

Probably a medic or lawyer

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

1- Fast forward to the end of my PhD, 2- Relocate to Ghana, 3- Run a business

Tell us a joke.

Knock, Knock… Who’s there?… Errrm… , Errrm Who? … Ermmm!!! No one, sorry terrible with jokes.

Other stuff

Work photos:

myimage1 I look at my skin cells on a regular basis down the microscope to see how well they are growing and note any changes to them

myimage2 I use a technque called western blotting to identify proteins in my cells. The first stage is called gel electrophoresis and this is what the set up looks like (not always  perfect)