Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it. 

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Billy is a third year rotation student working in the lab of Xiaoqi Feng. His project focuses on the tapetum and involves epigenetic studies and single cell sequencing. Originally from East London, loves brewing, wine, and gardening.

Twitter: @Billy_Aldridge


The Project Song – I Would Do Anything For Love (but I won’t do that) by Meatloaf

“I work on the tapetum, a tissue that surrounds the male germline. I think of the tapetum as the plant cell type you’d want to be best friends with. Not only does it provide nutrients for the developing germline but it also creates the pollen coat, make sure the germline is wrapped up warm before it ventures out into the big bad world. Once it has completed its job it even dies so the pollen can be released (aww). What a great guy!

My project is specifically looking at how the tapetum can influence the germline epigenome through the movement of sRNAs. It seems the tapetum will literally do anything for love, but will it do that? I guess I’m gonna have to find out.”

The PhD Life Song – Wanderlust by Björk 

“Björk is my favourite artist of all time and her music is a real source of inspiration for me, so I had to pick one of her songs for the #PhDPlaylist. I chose wanderlust for its sense of discovery, of leaving comfort behind and stepping out into the wider world. As PhD students I think that’s something we can all relate to, not just scientifically but also in discovering our place in the world. Are we still care-free students or are we proper adults? I haven’t got an answer for that one yet.

The amazing music video also took over 9 months to create so of course it fits with a PhD.”

The Motivational Song – MacArthur Park by Donna Summer

“Dramatic, loud, and lyrically weird. I don’t know when I became obsessed with this song but I love it so much. I now try to sneak it onto playlists at parties so I can have a little lip sync and shout at anyone who dares turn it off. This definitely channels my 1½ bottles of red “Shut up, this song is all about me” vibes, but that’s something we all need every now and again.”


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

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