Heather Ging

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University College London (UCL)

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Your choices are your own and they don't need to be justified to anyone but yourself.

What do you do?

I work on Huntington's Disease which is a neurodegenerative disorder - certain cells within the brain die and cause symptoms related to movement, cognition and behaviour. The mutation is an excess of DNA in one gene in that a "CAG" trinucleotide is repeated 40 times or more. My role is to re-create the vulnerable brain cells by growing neurons from patient skin cells and investigating what makes them better for future therapies. The read out of my work is based on the number of CAG repeats after a treatment. The phrase "less is more" really fits in here as we want the repeat to contract.

Why did you choose this field?

I work on Huntington's Disease as it affected members of my family.

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

My achievement is working with one of the top people in Huntington's Disease research, for which I had aspired to do for many years previous. I didn't think a "no-one" could end up working with someone so world-renowned.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love that I grow brain cells - it's something I never thought I would do and I still find it so amusing!

Best advice for next generation?

Don't loose yourself in the pursuit of a career you think you want that satisfies social needs/requirements or some one elses ideals for you. You spend most of your life working - as hard as it may seem - just work in something that makes you happy. Your choices are your own and they don't need to be justified to anyone but yourself.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Progress not perfection"

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