Professor Aoife McLysaght discovered a totally new human gene. Her day job is as a genetic scientist, but there was a time when she was going to give it all up. After an unfriendly encounter with a colleague who queried her holiday leave, she sent a frank email to her boss. “Guess what,” she wrote, “I read books that aren’t all science books, I have friends, I like to do other things, and if it’s all or nothing, I’ll take nothing, thank you very much.” The email was well received and served as a turning point for the dedicated scientist, especially when it came to motherhood and balancing family life, which was an “adjustment.”

The groundbreaking scientist could no longer play with the clock and work another 20 minutes, because creche pick-up time is creche pick-up time. She talks to Margaret E Ward about the practical applications of her work to our daily lives, finding her path, and her secret to sustainable success in a busy, demanding world.