In 2012 I started a three year Biomedical Sciences course at the University of Warwick, followed by an integrated research masters year. I undertook my masters project in Dr Keith Leppard's lab, investigating the role of PML-IV nuclear bodies in the functional activation of tumour suppressor protein p53. I graduated in 2015 with first class honours.
MIBTP PhD Training year:
I am part of the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Traning Partnership programme (MIBTP), between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and Leicester. My work is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
As part of the MIBTP programme, before starting my PhD project, I completed a training year learning key skills such as statistics for scientists and programming in R. I also completed a 3 month project in the Chromosomal Replication lab with Dr. Aga Gambus at the University of Birmingham Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, using mass spectrometry to indentify chromatin proteins ubiquitylated during DNA replication.
I also completed a placement with Technology transfer firm, Oxford University Innovation, where I worked as part of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology team. During my time at OUI, I gained an in-depth understanding of the technology transfer process, and performed tasks including:
- Supporting invention disclosure/ business case assessments
- Prior art/ patent searching, supporting prior art and other requirements
- Market landscaping/ commercial assessments for new technologies
- Researching potential licensees, writing marketing materials and contacting potential licensees and supporting license discussions
- Analysing and preparing data on OUI activities and supporting OUI reporting into the University in addition to undertaking strategic research to develop internal resources for the Life Sciences group.
- Received training in spin-out company formation, non-disclosure agreements and licenses.
While completing my undergraduate/masters degree at Warwick, I developed an overriding interest in molecular cell biology and decided to pursue a PhD project in this field.
I am currently in the third and final year of my PhD project, working as part of the De Piccoli Lab group, based in Warwick Medical School. We mainly work in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and are interested in chromosome stability.
My project is focused on investigating the role of DNA:RNA helicase Splicing ENdonuclease 1 (Sen1) at replication forks, and its contribution to the maintenance of chromosome stability. We are particularly interested in Sen1 as its human orthologue, Senataxin, is mutated in the neurodegenerative diseases ataxia-ocular apraxia-2 (AOA2) and an autosomal dominant form of juvenile amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS4).
Rowin Appanah, Emma Claire Lones, Umberto Aiello, Domenico Libri, and Giacomo De Piccoli.
Cell Reports 30, 2094–2105, February 18, 2020