I am a final year PhD candidate funded by the British Heart Foundation based in the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine. Prior to commencing my PhD in 2016, I studied a BSc in Human Physiology in the Faculty of Biological Sciences (First Class Hons) at the University of Leeds. The last six years have enabled me to acquire a broad knowledge of the life sciences, to gain an understanding of cutting-edge research techniques and to unveil my passion for scientific writing. I aim to take this experience forward into a career in medical communications.
Alongside my PhD, I am employed as an editor and proofreader for Proofed where I am responsible for editing a range of academic documents according to specified style guides and referencing systems. At the University of Leeds, I am an Examination Invigilator and part of the Mentoring Scheme.
My research project is focused on the mechanisms that underpin pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation in hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (PH). In this syndrome, vasoconstriction and VSMC proliferation in the small pulmonary blood vessels contribute to right ventricular heart failure and death. Despite current therapeutic management options, prognosis is poor with only around half of patients surviving past three years of diagnosis, and only ~15% of adult patients being classed as responders. Notably, many current therapeutic strategies target vasoconstriction, thus novel anti-proliferative therapeutics may be pivotal in PH management. Calcium, as an abundant second messenger, is indispensable in the proliferative process. Thus, any change in the expression of calcium channels and signalling proteins can disrupt calcium homeostasis, leading to VSMC proliferation, remodelling and PH. My main focus is to understand the role of specific calcium channel targets in proliferation of pulmonary VSMCs.
- BSc (Hons) Human Physiology