I am a registered Biomedical Scientist specialising in Histopathology and my research interest is age-related bladder dysfunction and mitochondrial biology.
Currently there are no bladder urinary biomarkers in routine clinical use.
I am establishing the suitability of measuring mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) by sequencing Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer patients’ urine. This involves urine and blood based mitochondrial DNA targeted deep whole exome sequencing from cystectomy patients.
I am testing the hypothesis: mtDNA mutations in urine act as a lineage tracing mark for incomplete tumour resection. I am correlating mtDNA mutation profile molecular readouts with clinical measures and pathological patient notes to appreciate the translational value.
Tumour specific novel mtDNA variants have been detected that are absent from the patients’ normal urothelium.
My project focuses on characterising mitochondrial biology in the ageing bladder.
October 2018 – International Academy of Pathology Conference: oral presentation.
November 2018 – National Institute for Health Research Impact Day: poster presentation.
October 2019 – Global Congress on Bladder Cancer: poster presentation.
November 2019 – North East Postgraduate Conference: organising committee.
November 2019 – National Institute for Health Research Academy Members’ Conference: poster presentation.
November 2018, (co-writer) What Works? Engaging the Public Through Social Media, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.
April 2019 – FMS Diversity Travel Award, Early Career Researchers’ Conference – ‘How to Stay in Academia’, University of East London.
July 2019 – CPD Award Nomination, Registered Scientist CPD Audit, The Science Council.
PPIE – April 2019, Newcastle Patient Information Day: organised and hosted an information table.
Age is classed as the largest single risk factor in developing bladder cancer, and although bladder cancer can appear at any age; it is generally a disease that effects the middle age and the elderly. Knowing that we can have an impact on certain diseases that are well established in ageing community is of particular interest to me.
I studied biomedical sciences at Durham University. I then joined a trainee programme where I became a registered biomedical scientist. I realised I wanted to have an impact on not only diagnosing disease but also on prevention. I decided to do a Masters in Research. I then joined Newcastle Uni as a research technician and then applied for this PhD position.
My research focuses on mitochondrial mutations and if they be used to detect bladder cancer occurring. As there is 40% risk of occurrence in bladder cancer and it is a very expensive disease to treat it is very important to look at prevention.
The NIHR has really helped to make me feel that I am part of a community. It is very prestigious, and knowing you are contributing to the NIHR’s mission is great. It’s nice to be part of a body that focuses on the translational aspect; how we can actually have an impact on healthcare and patients.
I have been able to access expertise in the Mitochondrial group with is part of the Neuromuscular theme at the BRC, and I have been able to use some of the techniques to my research.
I attended a conference in Jordan which was really useful for me as helped bridge the gap between research and pathology.
I have got involved in a patient information day which was organised to help patients and public understand the research happening in the mitochondrial group. We used interactive ways to communicate and disseminate our research to the patients. A patient and public event like this works two ways; it’s a knowledge exchange between the researcher and patients.
One thing I would suggest is; don’t believe your research is finished until you have communicated it with the patients and public. This is not just for them; it is a knowledge exchange where you can also learn from their experiences which will help your research. I would advise researchers to take opportunities to get involved with patients and the public. I have found personally my presentation, confidence and communication style has changed as a result of my experiences with patients and public. For me engaging with patients and public creates an emotional connection which enables me to articulate better why I am doing the research I am doing. It is a very powerful interaction that can have lasting impacts on your research and researcher skills.
I play 5 a side football at the university which I really enjoy, and I am also part of the committee in organising this.
I love the accent! I love how friendly the city is and how prestigious the university is.