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Nora is a postdoctoral research assistant in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. She discusses her experience as an Oxford-Celgene Fellow and aspirations for the future of her research.

What is your research background?

Nora Bengoa-Vergniory.jpg

I have always been highly interested in neuroscience, specifically in the biology of both neurons and glia in health and disease. This motivated me to do a PhD on the analysis of the effects of Wnt signaling in early neural differentiation at CIC bioGune. I am currently working in the Wade-Martins Group in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.

What are you researching now?

Studying neuronal differentiation in human stem cell models led me to develop an interest in the detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. During my time the Wade-Martins laboratory I have been involved in a project investigating the potential effects of molecular tweezers in Parkinsonian models in collaboration with Dr. Erwan Bezard and Dr. Carlos Matute. This experience has increased my interest in using disease models in order to find novel therapeutic strategies, which I hope to achieve as a Celgene Fellow.

What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?

My experience has been very positive; Celgene has been very helpful from the start. Their research interest statements and application guidelines were very clear and Celgene staff are extremely helpful in answering queries and offering assistance.

What has been the highlight of the Fellowship so far?

One of the highlights of the Fellowship would be flexibility they offer regarding my research plan. Celgene is interested in achieving scientific goals and they are flexible and supportive of the experiments needed to achieve this. Unlike some other funders that are more milestone driven, Celgene provides Fellows with a great environment where science is the priority.

Why do you think it is important for researchers to engage with industry?

Industry has access to resources academia does not, and therefore working within both scenarios offers the best of both worlds. Being able to generate data that will directly contribute to the wellbeing of others is extremely rewarding and collaborating with industry allows us to focus on this goal.

Do you have any advice for applicants to this Fellowship?

My advice for future applicants would be to think their applications through very thoroughly, and try to improve them by sharing them with others in the community. Getting input from others and discussing ideas from different perspectives is key in order to get the best results and applications.

What are your aspirations for the future of your research?

Treatment for neurodegenerative diseases is one of the biggest unmet needs of our health care systems, which impacts thousands of people worldwide. Providing insights regarding disease mechanism and progression is essential in order to reach any clinical impact. I hope my work can contribute towards this goal, and ultimately help patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

 

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