Tim Snelling

Tim (Cropped)

Tell us about yourself
My name is Tim Snelling and I am from the seaside town of Weymouth on the south coast of Dorset, England. I travelled to Aberystwyth University in Wales to study for my BSc Honours, MSc and PhD specialising in equine hindgut microbiology and microbial ecology.

What is your role in RuminOmics?
My role in the RuminOmics project is to see if is possible to isolate and identify the total protein content from the microbes inhabiting the rumen. This is known as the Metaproteome. It is hoped that this will be a good way of finding out some of the most important functions of the rumen microbiota.

What interested you most about the project?
I was interested in the RuminOmics because one of the main objectives of the project was to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production. My previous research on microbiology in the equine hindgut was good experience and switching to the rumen was quite easy as even though the anatomy is different, the microbiology and function is very similar.

What and/or who inspired you to make a career in science?
Before I started at Aberystwyth University, I had a job working in local government, I also an interest in popular science .This inspired me to take the Science Foundation course with the Open University, studying in my spare time at evenings and weekends. I surprised myself by doing quite well so as the circumstances were right at the time, I returned to full time education and the rest, as you say, is history.

Did you have any other career aspirations?
As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t always a scientist! My first career took me through Art college and then to design and printing. This was at the time when cut and paste actually involved a scalpel and glue! I was working at the time when desktop publishing and printing was being transformed by digital technologies. Seeing these changes through in the department where I worked was part of my role.

What’s your most stand-out or surprising moment in science so far?
The stand-out moments in science for me includes work that is carried out routinely and perhaps taken for granted. For example, the PCR is a simple and elegant process but it is still amazing for me that we can replicate and manipulate DNA in the lab. I enjoy the ecological studies and working at the microbial scale gives so much scope. I feel quite lucky to be working in a time when the technology and software has made this possible.