Bob Bonwick

I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here...

Favourite Thing: As a Cellular Pathologist I love to find the smallest of detail in everything. I get a real thrill from finding out just exactly what is going on. Be it the pure biology side, the chemistry of the detailed molecular side I enjoy it all, and sharing my enthusiasm is equally as exciting.



Brockworth Comprehensive for my GCSE, GLOSCAT for my A-Levels (Chemistry, Biology, Psychology) – 1998-2000, The University of Bradford for my Degree in Biomedical Sciences with Cellular and Molecular Pathology (Graduated in 2005)


BSc(hons) in BiomedSci, Specialist Diploma in Cellular Pathology, State Registration in Biomedical Science, Member of the Instiute of Biomedical Science, Member of the Healthcare Professions council, STEM Ambassador (STEM Ambassador of the year 2012)

Work History:

I’ve studied, trained and practiced at the Gloucestershire Cellular Pathology Department for 7 years and I’ve Studied Neuropathology and Electron Microscopy at Frenchey Hospital in Bristol

Current Job:

Specialist Practitioner in Cellular Pathology



Me and my work

I’m a foreward thinking self professed geek, my work allows me to practice my understanding and skills as a scientist, getting to the heart of the problem, getting the patients results as well and as quickly as I can.

My work is either in a team, or on my own for part of the day.  It’s all about the patients and how we can best get the information from the samples.  I work with an amazing bunch and we all strive for the best.  We also communicate constantly with Doctors, Nurses, Dentists and other people as to how best get the right bit to look at and how best to get the information we need.

My Typical Day

No one day is the same, but all the things I love about science can be found in my day, Biology and Chemistry all in one!

Samples come into us all day every day, we have aver 40 thousand a year and each one is different.  We look at them as a whole and describe it, measure it and get all the details.  We turn that sample into a wax block over night and then cut a section from it thats about 4 thousandth of a millimeter thick and put it on a glass slide.  We stain that slide with 2 chemicals to get the first real picture of whats going on.  We then, if needs be, do further stains, either for bacteria, fungus or microscopic structures that might be damaged, or we look at the imune status of the tissue (this is the molecular biology side, very interesting to me).  Also we can freeze the sample to -20 centigrade in an emergency.  Occasionally we see patients and assist in biopsy proceedures to make sure we get the best possible result.

What I'd do with the money

Build on my teaching resources, I have a bunch of ideas, which would look so much better given a little funding, that way I can show people what we do as opposed to just telling them.

I have been designing story boards for teaching, not only at degree level but from GCSE and up too.  These boards are bright and colourful, they have details on them which I’ve been researching for years.  I have taken photomicrographs which are high quality and the Boards are A3 size, the prints I have so far are good, but I want them to be great so I can show everyone the wonders I see day to day.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Funny, Interesting, focused

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Katherine Jenkins

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Jet Skiing, SCUBA diving and Parasending with my family in Teneriefe

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

My Own Science Accadamy, A world full of understanding and Tollerence for all and a country manor!

What did you want to be after you left school?

exactly what I am now.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?


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

My very first research project, I loved learning everything possible around my subject

Tell us a joke.

What do pigs put on thier sores? Oinkment

Other stuff

Work photos:

myimage8, This is a sample being looked at, measured and details recorded for the clinical report.

myimage4, This is a Microtome (far right) which take 4micron sections of tissue, a water bath (far left, front) which is just below the melting point of the wax and alows us to ‘iron out’ the creases created when cutting the sections. and the hot plate (left back) lets us heat on the tissue to the glass slide so it doesn’t float off.

myimage5, 4micron tissue sections being cut in a ribbon like manner to give us multiple sections to use for analysis.

myimage3, tissue sections suspended on the water bath being picked up before heating on.

myimage2, This is a frozen biopsy in a cryostat.  this works like a microtome excpet it opperated at minus 20 degrees celcius.  This alows up to make a priliminary diagnosis whilst a patient is undergoing surgery and the teams need to know it the tissue is malignant no not.

myimage6, This is a pressure chamber we treat slides in before we perfom a process called immunohistochemistry on the slides.

myimage7, This is the immunohistochemistry auto-stainer.  it’s designed to take out the leg work for us and make the provess standardised and reproduceable.  The results tell us what is going on within patients cells and the molecular level and we can determin their immune status.

myimage9, this is a picture I took of a kidney biopsy. In the bottom right corner you can see what looks like a blue football.  This is the part of the Kidney that filters the blood out and converts the waste into urine after it has been up and down the long tubules. More importantly the ‘C’ shaped structure just about this and to the right is part of a blood vessle. Note the flicks of RED, this denotes scar tissue, along with blood tests this patient was given a diagnosis of an autoimmune disesase of the small blood vessles and was given the right treatment and went on to very rapidly get better.