Dr Julie Dunne
Dr Julie Dunne is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Organic Geochemistry Unit. Her work focuses on using combined chemical and isotopic techniques on archaeological pottery to investigate past diet and subsistence practices. She is currently working on a Leverhulme Trust funded project ‘Peopling the Green Sahara: a multi-proxy approach to reconstructing the ecological and demographic history of the Saharan Holocene’.
Julie came to chemistry as a mature student. Her first career was as an accountant, something she enjoyed, but she always had the sense that she wanted to find that over-riding passion she saw others have in their careers. An overriding curiosity about natural processes and a passionate interest in the past led her to undertake a four-year MSci degree in archaeological science, followed by a PhD on organic residue analysis in the Organic Geochemistry Unit at the University of Bristol. Julie was very proud to be first author on a Nature paper ‘First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium BC’ in the second year of her PhD.
“For me, the marriage of science and archaeology is a perfect match. Being able to answer questions about how people lived in the past, including what they ate and how they managed their animals, and the impact humans may have had upon their environment, something very relevant today in this time of rapid climate change, is hugely rewarding”.
“I can honestly say starting a whole new career in my late forties was about the best decision I ever made - I absolutely love what I do now! A career in academic research gives you the opportunity to explore deeply the things that particularly interest you and it is hugely enjoyable and stimulating being in an environment with like-minded people. Being able to share ideas and new research with people who share my passion makes every day worthwhile”.
“I would urge anyone thinking about coming late to a career in science, that although it may be challenging and involve making sacrifices – just do it. It is never too late!”