I started at Northumbria University in 2014 and was actively involved in volunteering with the Students’ Union alongside my studies, in particular with Marrow (the student branch of Anthony Nolan) and the Biology Society. I completed a placement year with Dr. Anna Basu working on the eTIPS (early therapy in perinatal stroke) project and the validation of the Tyneside Pegboard Test. I graduated from Northumbria University in 2017 with a first-class degree in Biomedical Sciences and then went on to complete an MRes in Cell Signalling in Health and Disease at Newcastle University. My MRes project was based in the Higgins lab, looking at histone phosphorylation in the cell cycle. Prior to moving to York, I worked in the Dermatology Research lab at Newcastle University for Prof. Nick Reynolds as a research technician. I am currently working towards my PhD with Prof. Nia Bryant and Dr. Chris MacDonald as my supervisors.
Membrane trafficking through the endosomal system requires the Sec18/Munc18 (SM) protein VPS45, which is highly conserved throughout evolution. Mutations in VPS45 are known to cause congenital neutropenia in childhood. The residues mutated in patients are conserved in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and my project aims to use this model organism to elucidate how these mutations result in apoptosis. This is an important aim as very little is known about the intersection between endosomal membrane traffic and apoptosis and this project has the potential to fill this fundamental knowledge gap.