From 2011 to 2014 I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford, with a particular focus on developmental and evolutionary biology. As part of this course I undertook an 18-week project in Jonathan Hodgkin’s laboratory at the Department of Biochemistry investigating the role of the C-type lectin-like domain containing proteins (CTLDcps) in the innate immune system of the nematode worm C. elegans.

I am currently in my first year of the BBSRC Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training programme (BDT). I have recently completed a rotation project in Peter Holland’s laboratory (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford), during which I investigated the duplication of SMAD4 (an integral component of TGF-β/BMP signalling) in the vertebrate lineage and the role paralogs of this gene play in embryonic development.

During my rotation in the planarian lab, I will be looking at the regeneration of dopaminergic neurons following targeted ablation of these cells. One hope of this project is to understand the feedback mechanisms involved in recognizing dopaminergic ablation and the recruitment of new dopaminergic neurons.

In the long term, I wish to integrate molecular and evolutionary approaches to understand the basic biology of ageing, how it controls the evolved differences in lifespan between populations and species, plasticity in ageing, and the origins of ageing-related disease.