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Isabell von Loga (2015-2019) Isabell von Loga holding a trophy

Project: Molecular pathogensis of pain in osteoarthritis

Supervisor: Prof Tonia Vincent

Lab Team

Before Oxford, I completed two different degrees. First a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University in the US, and subsequently medicine at Imperial College London in the UK. During my time at Princeton, I was a 4-year varsity athlete in track and field alongside my degree. My first research focus was in addiction behaviours, with my subsequent research in cognitive neuroscience, using fMRI to map out parietal cortex in visual perception. After completing my undergraduate degree, I joined the graduate entry medicine course at Imperial, graduating in 2015. During my medical degree, I was especially interested in the field of rheumatology, leading me to pursue an academic clinical career in this field. Having met Prof Tonia Vincent as a clinical student at Imperial, I decided to apply for the PhD programme at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in order to extend my academic interests and to join Prof Vincent’s research group. 

Pain is the most commonly cited reason for patients to seek medical help, yet, its aetiology remains poorly understood and conventional analgesia is frequently ineffective. For my time at the University of Oxford, I was awarded a Kennedy Trust Prize Studentship as well as DTP MRC supplementary funding. This funding allowed me to study the molecular pathogenesis of pain in osteoarthritis (OA), focusing on the role of nerve growth factor inhibition in attenuating painful behaviours, as well as gender differences in OA. I am very grateful for this funding. The resulting publications added a small mosaic piece to this evasive disease.

During my time at Oxford, I was a member of the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club, participating in the yearly Oxford Cambridge Boat Race. After the 2016 season, during which I raced in Osiris (the reserve boat), I was elected President for the 2017 season. Being able to lead a team of such outstanding, focused, and ambitious women was an extraordinary privilege and humbling experience.  Additionally, after the completion of the 2016 Boat Race season, I earned a blue for the Oxford University Athletics Club at the Varsity Match, joining the team in shot put. Training for the Boat Race and being a student athlete at Oxford meant that 12 sessions a week had to be fitted around the PhD schedule.

During my final year at Oxford, I suspended my studies for 3 months in order to do a management consulting internship to explore career choices outside of academia. This showed me that the skills acquired during my PhD in biomedical sciences can readily be transferred to and are sought after in a business setting. After the completion of my studies at Oxford, I decided to join Monitor Deloitte and am currently working as a consultant in the life sciences sector.

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