2012 Leaver Eve Rogers graduated this summer with a First Class degree in Biology. Here she explains the next stage of her career as she begins a PhD in Stem Cell Research…
Stem Cell Research is a new area that is rightfully publicised widely in today’s media. Every day, more and more papers are published with new breakthroughs in this exciting area of scientific interest, whereby a patient’s own cells can be tailored to replace damaged ones. This October, I started my own exploration into this fascinating field by beginning to undertake a PhD research project in this area, at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. My project aims to look at how the circadian rhythm, what is more commonly known as the ‘body clock’, and the environment of the cell itself can influence the differentiation of these stem cells.
Following injury or ageing, cells begin to die. In order to maintain the cell population in this faulty body part, stem cells have the ability to develop and proliferate into a number of different cell types in order to restore equilibrium. They do this in response to a number of cues, which can come in the form of things such as chemical signals or environmental context. Once this process is understood, it is hoped that scientists can then hope to repair age-related tissue dysfunction using a patient’s own cells. One such determinant of adult stem cell differentiation is thought to be the biological clock rhythm, and we are hoping to see how the environment of the cell can be used to synchronise these clocks, which may become altered during ageing. The data from this project will then hopefully be used to contribute towards improving bioengineering techniques currently used to today in modern regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications.
My desire to study biological science began with an interest in genetics and molecular biology, which I encountered first during my A-level studies. I studied Biology, Chemistry and Psychology in my final year at school, where I was offered an adbundance of support. My teachers at MTGS were keen to guide me along this course, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without them; their insights and inspiration led me to the next logical step, which was to feed this interest by going on to study Biology at the University of York, where the Department of Biology at York only amplified this. Modules such as ‘Cancer & the Cell Cycle’, ‘Neuroscience’, ‘Advanced topics in Developmental Biology’, ‘Brain in Health & Disease’ and ‘Learning & Memory’ particularly fascinated me, and after undertaking my final year research project, I knew I wished to further investigate biological science in the laboratory and the world of research. The future certainly is bright for this gripping area of research and you can expect to see many further developments and progressions regarding stem cell research and therapy.