What do you do?
My PhD project is researching platelets, which are cells in the blood that upon activation help to form blood clots at a site of injury. I'm researching platelets in the context of cardiovascular disease where unwanted platelet activation occurs. I'm mainly looking at key platelet inhibitory mechanisms and specific changes during and leading up to a cardiac event.
Why did you choose this field?
I've always enjoyed science, particularly biology and my parents always encouraged me to pursue something that I enjoy. My grandad passed away from a heart attack and that fuelled my desired to research cardiovascular disease as 1 in 4 people in the UK die from heart or circulatory diseases. During my undergraduate degree, I undertook a year-long placement at the University of Leeds whereby I studied blood coagulation in the context of thrombosis, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was this placement that made me want to pursue a PhD and a career in academic research. After my placement, to my shock, my Dad suffered a heart attack, thankfully he has recovered and is doing very well now. This further fuelled my passion for cardiovascular research as many people that appear healthy and active can suffer major heart attacks. I wanted to find out how and why this happens on a cellular level and how we can treat or prevent this. Now during my PhD study, I've had the opportunity to be involved in a clinical study whereby we are looking at key changes in the blood in patients that have suffered a heart attack.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Presenting at a conference (prior to my PhD study) and receiving positive feedback is something I'm really proud of, I'd love to go back and tell my younger self and see her reaction.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love learning and science is all about learning. I love being in the lab and designing/performing experiments, the lab is where I feel most confident - I feel I can tackle anything!
Best advice for next generation?
If you want to do something, don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Work hard, be proactive and don't compare yourself to others. Trust and believe in yourself, you're better than you think! If you're passionate, it will shine through and people will love that.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"Stay hungry, stay foolish" - Steve Jobs
I really like this quote as the idea is to try lots of things. Science (and life) is pretty much trial and error and I like that this encourages to try new things and do what you love. Being crazy and “foolish” enough to do those things will help you in science as it all starts with an idea. Do the things that others think are crazy and do that with a hunger to get you to where you want to be.