Emma Kathryn Jennings

PhD Student, University of Leeds

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If it is something you want to go for, do it. It will be worth it.

What do you do?

I am researching cancer immunology, more specifically, I aim to rationally design a therapy combining a cancer-selective virus and immune checkpoint modulators to treat liver cancer.

Why did you choose this field?

The field of medical research was something I wanted to pursue from early high school, this was due to a family members health and my drive to make a difference. It wasn't until master's level, when I had more experience in different fields of medical research, that I knew my passions lied within the field of immunotherapy and was dedicated to undertake my PhD in this field of research.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I was an above average student at GCSE level, though I underperformed at A-Levels for one reason or another. There was a time when I wasn't sure that I would make it to university due to poor grades, let alone be completing my PhD. Careful planning and dedication has gotten me where I am today, having undertaken a foundation science degree prior to my BSc and subsequently my MSc.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because it is challenging but rewarding. With STEM, particularly research, you are never finished learning. You can question anything and everything, aiming to improve your knowledge (and hopefully other peoples) through your actions. With medical research, I love that I can help make a difference to the field of medicine without being too emotionally attached to the care of patients.

Best advice for next generation?

If it is something you want to go for, do it. It will be worth it. If you aim for the top and you don't reach it, you'll still be better off that if you didn't try at all.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” - Abraham Lincoln

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