Hi, I'm Matthew Woodard
I followed my lifelong interest in animals, photography and biology to Bangor University in pursuit of a zoology degree. I spent most of my time hiking mountains, catching and photographing insects and meeting great people. My 4th year dissertation gave me my first taste of lab work and molecular biology, which I rather enjoyed. I chased this new interest further and undertook some lab work over summer for a researcher at Bangor where my interests became more refined to focus on plant molecular biology.
Whilst not something I had ever expected to be doing, I decided to remain at Bangor for an extra year to complete an MSc in molecular biology and biotechnology to increase my knowledge in the subjects and gain a greater degree of lab experience before applying for PhDs. I decided that I could keep many of the aspects I enjoyed from Zoology (wildlife photography, learning to identify animals and keeping field notebooks) as hobbies whereas I couldn't easily do molecular biology as a side project. I therefore started a PhD in plant molecular biology at the University of Southampton, studying how chloroplasts signal to the nucleus and the role of these signals in drought responses.
Overtime my passion for tackling environmental and wildlife conservation issues have only increased, with a strong desire to work towards helping the planet and animals. I also realised that I take particular enjoyment from communicating with people, raising awareness around issues, and inspiring an interest in the environment. After an opportunity arose to explore using these skills in a different career path, I paused my PhD studies to work in the communications and campaigns team of The Rivers Trust. I am now using the attributes gained throughout my time in academia to fight for our rivers, environment, and wildlife.
Away from work, I spend a lot of time reading, gaming, playing with my cat and doing photography. I love trail running, surfing, and mountain walking and greatly miss the mountains of Snowdonia that spoilt me during my time at Bangor. And I enjoy few things more than a good coffee in the morning and a smoky Islay whisky in the evening.