Why do children differ in their academic achievements?

Emma Meaburn, Genetics

Dr. Emma Meaburn describes the day-to-day life of an academic scientist who researches what genes do and how they change. Watch the video to find out more about behavioural genetics and how her experience as a fostered child inspired her to pursue her career.

STEM Role Model: Emma Meaburn, Behavioural Geneticist | 18 minute video

In this talk, Dr Meaburn explores many topics, including:

  • Her research (0:38)

  • What the job of an academic scientist involves: research, teaching, and service (6:40)

  • Her path from fostered child to academia (10:45)

  • Things she wished she knew at 16 (14:33)

Scientist Q&A

The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors interviewed Dr. Meaburn after her talk. Watch her answer one of their questions in the video below. Visit the Q&A page for more student-scientist interviews!

What’s the aim of your research? | 2 minute video

A Day in the Life of a Birkbeck Scientist | 2 minute video


It was hard work but my masters really was what opened the door for me for science. Seeing the kind of people who worked in science, being in the wet lab doing scientific experiments under the supervision of a great professor, seeing that it was possible and also recognising these other scientists weren’t superheroes—they were clever, they worked hard, but I could be one of them. I wasn’t someone different and I shouldn’t think of myself differently.
— Emma Meaburn

Looking for resources to use in the classroom or your STEM club?

Check out The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors Teacher Toolkit for everything from classroom ready lessons on STEM Role Models, including Dr. Meaburn, to science communication skills tasters.



Emma Meaburn began her science career studying human biology at King’s College London. Afterwards, she pursued her interest in genetics at Imperial College London’s Human Molecular Genetics masters programme. She continued her science career as a research assistant at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and completed a PhD in Behavioural Genetics. Currently, she is a lecturer at Birkbeck University London where she leads the BRIDGE lab.

There are always going to be roadblocks, but don’t let those roadblocks be you. See these things as hoops to jump through, hold your breath and do it anyway.
— Emma Meaburn
If you are thinking about having a family or that’s something in your future make sure it’s with someone who is going to support you and who is going to pull their weight.
— Emma Meaburn