Staff spotlight on... Dr Elise Pegg

I’ve worked at the University for just 18 months after spending 5 years as a postdoctoral researcher in orthopaedic biomechanics at Oxford, and before that I worked for 3 years in the orthopaedic industry. My role is very seasonal. During term time I’m lecturing, in tutorials or preparing for them, and outside this I’m focused on research: carrying out experiments, writing papers and attending conferences.

Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?

I am constantly amazed and delighted by the quality of work the students are able to produce, and what they can achieve. This is particularly noticeable when they come to do their final year research projects, and those in our competition teams like Team Bath Racing and Team Bath Drones, who just won a national competition.

Who was your most influential teacher/educator?

I am grateful to all of my inspiring teachers, but if I have to pick one then I would say Professor David Grant, who supervised my PhD at Nottingham. He was always very supportive and encouraging which helped build my confidence and most importantly he introduced me to the fascinating field of biomaterials.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher. Then a doctor, more of which below!

What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?

That Engineering is where I want to be - it took me a while to realise this. I originally applied for medical school, but then received an offer from Nottingham to study Medical Material Science which was a subject I had not considered. I discovered that I enjoyed developing biomaterials to improve people’s health, and I ended up specialising in joint replacements which are very mechanical and require a lot of engineering skills. I am so glad I found my way to engineering and wish I could tell my younger self what the subject is really about.

What’s your favourite book?

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I love how she writes and the way she pulls it all together, it’s both beautiful and poetic.

When are you happiest?

When an experiment works as you planned or you discover something new. It still quite rare but it’s a wonderful feeling.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Caroline Herschel. She lived here in Bath and despite working in the shadow of her brother William Herschel, she managed to get recognised for her independent discoveries which I think is fantastic when you think about the era she was working in. She discovered 8 comets, as well as 500 new nebulae at a time when only 2000 were known. I believe she was also the first woman to be paid for her scientific work, which is a significant achievement!

What one superpower would you like to possess?

To see into the future, I’d love to know what the new breakthroughs will be.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I play piano, and after a stint at the recent charity Ceilidh organised by one of our biomechanics postgraduates I’ve discovered I also love to drum

Tell us your favourite joke

What do you call a sad strawberry?

A blueberry!

If you know of a colleague who’d like to raise the profile of their work or has an unexpected hobby, email comms@bath.ac.uk with the subject ‘Staff Spotlight recommendation’.

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