My Account

Delma Childers

Lecturer in Medical Sciences
University of Aberdeen

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I love to travel, bake, and try to keep indoor plants alive. I’ve also been on a zero-G flight and consulted on a major Hollywood film.

Tell us about your career journey so far, from school to now.

I grew up in Texas and my favorite subjects were astronomy, biology, and history.  I loved doing creative work too and took classes in theatre and creative writing. During University, I did an internship in a Microbiology lab and decided that working on infectious diseases was how I wanted to make a difference. I was also a bit of an over-achiever – I finished University a year early and decided to go to study for a doctorate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. I spent the next six years learning about serious fungal infections and what drives these organisms to cause disease. I moved to Scotland for my post-doc to continue learning how to fight fungal infections. Nine years later, I lead my own research laboratory that works to combat antimicrobial resistance in severe fungal infections.

What is your job and what is your favourite thing about it?

My job is to lead an independent research program by bringing in external grant funding, publish scientific papers, develop connections so that my work benefits the public, and train the next generation of scientists. I also teach Microbiology subjects to university students and enjoy inspiring secondary school pupils to maintain an interest in science subjects, even if they don’t choose these subjects as a career.

I really love working with my research team, who are currently all young women, to solve problems. We just problem solved an experimental challenge on a dry erase board yesterday, which was terrific.

 Are there any women who especially inspired you to go into your career?

My high school astronomy teacher was really inspirational and gave me great opportunities to explore science. She could tell early on that I really loved the subject so she got me a part-time job working in the planetarium and helping with science camps over the summer. I have no idea how she managed to keep a planetarium in our tiny town going, but it was an amazing opportunity to have that around.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

The fungi I work on are distant cousins of baker’s yeast, and there are tons of safe microbiological experiments you can do at home with baker’s yeast. There are experiments in baking you can try that are *almost guaranteed to have something nice to eat in the end. This can also be turned into the ‘yeast blowing up a balloon’ experiment- I have shared this fun packed activity here

Yeast Balloon Experiment

This page is part of our#BreakTheBias blog series for International Women’s Day 2022. We’re sharing the career stories of some of our incredible women YAS members. We hope this will give a snapshot of the wide variety of jobs that women work in today, and inspire girls & young women into careers that they may not yet have considered. To illustrate part of their job, each member has also suggested a fun activity for you to try at home!

To see more snapshots of YAS members, please return to our main International Women’s Day Gallery.

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