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Future Female

It’s the UN’s International Day for Women and Girls in Science on February 11. We hear from four of Warwick’s young women research scientists, who share their hopes for their research and the future.

Nataliya Tkachenko is a PhD student in the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities


My research interests lie at the intersection of social, environmental and computer sciences, looking at finding ways in which artificial intelligence can be used to extract and analyse data to help understand situations.

“I think it is incredibly important for everyone to be heard, irrespectively from whether the message contains problems, hopes, joys or fears. We live in the globalised world, where not only boundaries dissolve, but also cultures merge with each other and languages disappear. Digital communication means language as a message medium is also becoming increasingly politicised, by being used as a crowd-tracking device or as a currency for peace-making or stirring trouble.

“Computer-assisted Information Processing Technologies, including artificial intelligence, are making fast progress into understanding human language and enabling interaction. Being able to extract and analyse human stories and messages from the volumes of text is an incredibly interesting research direction which never ceases to fascinate me and has a huge number of useful applications, including disease tracking or flood monitoring.
“I also believe that contributing to language processing technologies can help to hear all the unheard voices and make this world a better place.”

Hannah Bridgewater is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry working the Warwick Cancer Research Centre


Current statistics from Cancer Research UK suggest one in two people are affected by cancer in their lifetime. This number is far too high and I want to contribute to minimising that figure.

The Warwick Cancer Research Centre, where I am carrying out my PhD, is at the forefront of cancer research, and we hope that our research can lead the way in making new breakthroughs and discoveries that will benefit patients in the future.

“My research involves the use of CRISPR - a cutting-edge technique that allows researchers to change and edit the genes that may be associated with particular cancers so we can gain a greater understanding of how they work and what affects them. I use CRISPR to study in detail how both existing anti-cancer drugs and also new treatments being developed at Warwick work.

"I hope that my research will allow our team to get a clearer understanding of how treatments act in the body, and how they may be used more effectively in the clinic, hopefully allowing better, more tailored treatments for people. I also hope that it will contribute to our understanding of the disease and the goal of minimising cancer in the future.”

Rosanne Maguire is a PhD student at Warwick’s Crop Centre, part of the Department of Life Sciences


I am motivated by the opportunities to address both planet and population health through improving our food system – that is the network of production, processing and distribution that feeds our global population."

“My PhD project is part of a breeding programme at Warwick Crop Centre where we are using traditional breeding methods to adapt common bean so that it can be grown successfully here in the UK. Dried common beans are currently imported to the UK, but we think it is a missing crop and ingredient that can help link sustainable food production and sustainable food consumption in the UK.

“We are aiming to provide consumers with a healthy source of home-grown plant-protein, which simultaneously provides UK farmers with short-season legume crop that can be grown between cereals and field vegetables. My research is providing new options for regional food production and the beans also happen to be delicious! My hope is that the UK leads the way in sustainable and healthy food systems, providing a model for other countries to follow.”

Sophie Nightingale is a PhD student in Department of Psychology at Warwick


The digital age presents a unique challenge: anytime we look at newspapers or magazines, or go on the internet we are frequently exposed to impossibly thin, tall, wrinkle and blemish-free models and celebrities.

Research shows that exposure to these fake images contributes to the formation of unrealistic beauty goals and aspirations which in turn can lead to low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and poor wellbeing.

“I am involved with research that has shown that one factor that adds to this problem is that people are poor at identifying when the images have been changed. I hope my research will help us gain a better understanding of why people trust these fake images and to try and find ways to help them improve their ability to detect the unreal. Ultimately, I hope that we can restore some faith in images and that seeing can be believing.”

9 February 2018

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