Elaine Gardener

Favourite Thing: See germs grow and find out what they are



University of Portsmouth 2007 – 2011


First Class BSc (Hons) Applied Science

Work History:

Wickham Laboratories, Pall Europe, Sauflon CL Ltd.

Current Job:

Microbiology Supervisor


MGS Laboratories

Me and my work

You dont have to go straight to uni – I didn’t and now I supervise testing cleaning/disinfectant liquids / toothpaste / water for germs

I never knew what I wanted to do when I left school so I took A levels in subjects which I enjoyed in a range of areas; history, spanish and human biology. At college, I was bored of studying and so decided not to go to university and went out to get a job. I got a job in a testing laboratory before moving to a bigger company. This bigger company paid for me to do my degree part time over 4 years – no student debt! Since then I have built my own laboratory and supervise 8 technicians.

I work in a microbiology laboratory which tests disinfectants to make sure they work properly by adding germs to them and seeing how long it takes for the item to kill the germs.

I also test things like toothpastes that come from the manufacturer to make sure they are germ free. These are also tested by adding germs to them because each time you take some toothpaste from the tube, it wipes along your toothbrush which has been in your mouth which is full of germs. I make sure that the germs get killed by special things in the toothpaste so it stays safe for use.

I recently got this job after working for a company that makes contact lenses – over a million a day!! The lenses needed to also be checked for germs to make sure they were safe to put into your eyes.

My Typical Day

Getting results!

I get in and greet everyone in the laboratory. Everyone has their own tasks to do and we get to test lots of different products and add germs to different things to see what happens. I also get to look at the dishes from testing a few days before and see what gooey smelly germs have grown, or have not grown!

What I'd do with the money

Get people interested in germs!

Too many people use disinfectants/sanitising gel too often and this is making germs resistant to these and antibiotics. The public have little idea about what testing goes in to making sure that the headache tablet they take/ toothpaste they use / contact lens they wear – will not make them sick.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Tenacious, Crazy, Fun

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Jessie J

What's your favourite food?

Fish and Chips

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Piloted a glider

What did you want to be after you left school?

I didnt know

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

A couple of times :)

What was your favourite subject at school?


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

Built my own laboratory

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Nobody, it was just something I enjoyed

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

An emergency doctor

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

Tell us a joke.

Other stuff

Work photos: