London, Aug 19 : A Cambridge University scientist has given up her white lab coat to pursue a career as a belly dancer.
After spending four years as a research scientist, Emma Chapman became bored with the world of academia.
Now, the 28-year-old dons a sequinned skirt to teach other aspiring dancers for six nights a week.
"Belly dancing gives me the freedom to be who I want. It's just so much more enjoyable than being in the lab," the Telegraph quoted Chapman, as saying.
"I can't imagine going back to a nine-to-five job," she added.
Chapman started belly dancing in 1998 when she responded to an advertisement and continued to perform while achieving a 2:1 in natural sciences at the university.
The hobby soon became a passion and after eight years of perfecting her art she started teaching classes, which she found more rewarding than her day job.
"A friend of mine who lived locally and taught classes was moving away and asked me to take over her teaching," Chapman said.
"I thought I couldn't do both my lab job and the classes, so I ditched my full-time job.
"It was slightly scary because I had no idea if it would work, but it's been totally exhilarating," she added.
The change of career meant Chapman took a pay cut from her job in medicinal chemistry at leading pharmaceutical research company, Cambridge Biotechnology.
"I love being able to run my own business and make my own decisions. I've got much more independence. I'm not the kind of person who likes being told what to do," she said.