Usman Bashir

Want to become a scientist? Scroll down to the pictures and see how its done!

Favourite Thing: I love to think up amazing ideas and then try to think of ways to make them happen



I obtained most of my early education from Aitchison College (Pakistan), getting straight A’s in GCSE and A-level(eq). I studied medicine at King Edward Medical College, top medical school in the country. After several years working in hospitals, I have decided to resume studies, and am now doing an MD in cancer research (similar to PhD, but for doctors) at King’s College London


MBBS (2002), Fellow of Royal College of Radiologists (2011)

Work History:

Loads of places, as a cancer radiologist ( a kind of doctor who loooks at XRay, Ultrasound, CT, MRI in cancer patients). In UK, I have worked at Royal Marsden Cancer hospital, King’s College hospital, and now at St. Thomas’ hospital. I also dabble in computer software development.

Current Job:

I am doing research on Cancer. Specifically we use a new type of scanner ‘PET/MRI’ which combines electromagnetic waves and positrons. We hope to detect cancer before it spreads everywhere


King’s College London

Me and my work

My work is on a latest machine which takes pictures of inside the body (called a ‘PET/MRI scanner’) to help detect cancer

Well my work is very mentally intensive. The imaging part only happens once in a week of so, when we have patients. Most of the rest of the time, I am learning relevant mathematics and physics, reading papers about PET/MRI and on different ways to analyse images, and writing about them. I have worked on different cancers including tongue cancer, breast cancer, and others. You can find some of my work if you search my name on a website called ‘’

My Typical Day

Read read read .. then write write write!

This is pretty much what I do. I read about current research which has been down world-over on PET/MRI and try to think of ways we can contribute to it in our centre. I then write papers on what I have read and get them published in journals.

On occasion, I go down to the actual PET/MRI scanner, after a patient has been scanned, and then I look at the pictures and see if I can pick small cancers hidden away in different parts of the body any better than before.

What I'd do with the money

I would bring cancer imaging awareness to school children

Have you ever wondered how doctors actually detect cancer inside the body? You may have seen TV programmes showing pictures on a screen. Ever wondered what they actually show? I will arrange seminars and talks with school children showing the different ways science – and electromagnetism in particular – has allowed us to detect cancer. I will demonstrate how we have progressed from the early days of only being able to see a ‘smudge’ inside the body to how we are now able to detect cancer based on molecular motion happening inside the body!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Intelligent, passionate, determined

Who is your favourite singer or band?


What's your favourite food?

Beef with green chillies and gravy served up with fried rice – yum

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Well those were the pranks at school , but not appropriate to give you guys ideas here!

What did you want to be after you left school?

A computer engineer !

Were you ever in trouble at school?

When was i not in trouble!

What was your favourite subject at school?

To be honest I hated studying until I was 15 .. so … but if I had to pick one it would be Biology

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

I am most proud of the research connection I found between tongue cancer and the manner it appears on MRI. I published the results in 2011

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

The boredom of an ordinary life made me think I wanted to do something special with mine

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

Great question! I might have become a computer scientist, made lots of money with projects. Maybe then started a charity.

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

Of course lots of money, a big castle like the windsor castle, and wingsuit flying!

Tell us a joke.

There’s two fish in a tank, and one says ”How do you drive this thing?”

Other stuff

Work photos:

See what one type of PET/MRI machine looks like. The tunnel on the left is the PET scanner and the one on the right is the MRI scanner, with the patient in the middle. myimage1

So, how does the PET/MRI work? We  inject our patient with radioactive glucose(sugar). The cancer eats a lot of that glucose and releases radiation. The PET/MRI scanner has the power to take pictures of that radiation. Below are pictures of a patient who had tongue cancer (aweful 🙁 ) myimage2

So, how does a scientist work? Read on ..


STEP 1 : Take pictures with the PET/MRI


STEP 2 : Analyse and discuss !

myimage5 myimage6

STEP 3 : Write your results as a ‘scientific essay’. Lots of brain storming and reading. I LOVE drawing ‘Mind-maps’ (see picture)


STEP 4: Share your results with the world! Einstein’s theory first appeared in a scientific essay like the one shown below. Good scientists publish from 50 – 100 essays in their lifetime! (I have about 10 but am getting there 🙂 )


STEP 5: And of course … celebrate !!!!