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Nima is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Nuffield Department of Medicine. Here he discusses his project and benefits he has drawn from his experience so far as an Oxford-BMS Fellow.

Nima Gharahdaghi

What is your research background?

My research background primarily lies in the field of molecular biology, with a focus on investigating the molecular regulation of ageing and sarcopenia. During my PhD studies at the Medical School of the University of Nottingham (UoN), I explored the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of endogenous and exogenous testosterone on muscle growth regulation in younger and older men. As a postdoctoral fellow, I delved into the role of molecular programming in regulating the life-span and health-span in-vivo using Caenorhabditis _elegans nematodes. During this time, I also led successful in-vivo and in-vitro projects, collaborating with the Clinical, Metabolic, and Molecular Physiology Laboratory, on interventions to upregulate health span over pre- and rehabilitation in octogenarians with comorbidities (e.g., urological cancer). After completing my tenure at UoN, I embarked on a new and exciting role as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the field of immunology at the Experimental Medicine Division in the University of Oxford.

What are you researching now?

I am currently investigating the role of IL-18 in intestinal inflammation at the Translational Gastroenterology Unit under the supervision of Professor Holm Uhlig. My main objective is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the production and regulation of IL-18, which can act as either a risk factor or protective factor, by employing various cellular models of monogenic diseases that exhibit elevated levels of IL-18. The findings of this study may potentially identify specific patient subgroups suffering from inflammatory bowel disease who can benefit from targeted IL-18 therapies. Additionally, I am also researching the impact of IL-10 upregulation and/or defects in its pathway among patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?

The fellowship has been an incredible opportunity for me to further my research and develop my skills as a scientist. The support and resources provided have allowed me to make significant progress in my work and expand my knowledge in immunology field. Additionally, the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers from both industry and academia have improved my knowledge about how the pharmaceutical industry functions and how they prioritise their research.

What are your aspirations for the future of this research?

My aspirations for the future are to further our understanding of the mechanisms and pathways involved in the progression of inflammatory bowel disease and the impacts of autoinflammatory factors on this disease. Through this research, I hope to identify novel therapeutic targets that will benefit patient subgroups who do not respond to existing therapies. By mapping these mechanisms and pathways, we can gain insights that will lead to the development of more targeted treatments and ultimately improve the lives of those living with inflammatory bowel disease.

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