Eboni Bucknor (2017 – 2021)
Project: Analysing the function and dysfunction of TLDc proteins in neurological diseases
Supervisors: Associate Professor Peter Oliver and Associate Professor Simon Butt
In 2017, I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Genetics. During my studies, I developed a strong interest in molecular mechanisms underpinning human disease, leading me to undertake my DPhil at the MRC Harwell Institute (Mammalian Genetics Unit) in the Molecular Neurobiology group.
My current research project aims to discover underlying neuropathological mechanisms of disease onset when mutations occur in members of the TLDc protein family, a group of proteins suggested to play a role in the neuronal cell response to oxidative stress. By understanding such oxidative stress response pathways, we hope to identify novel therapeutic targets applicable to numerous neurological disorders. Using a combination of cellular and mouse models, I aim to characterise the links between TLDc protein disruption in the nervous system and neuronal cell death, with a focus on Oxidation resistance 1 (Oxr1).
I believe advocacy for wellbeing and mental health awareness is incredibly important, especially amongst the postgraduate community. In 2019, I decided to train as a peer supporter within the Medical Sciences Division (MSD), as well as at Linacre College. Peer supporters are students that have been trained to talk to you informally about concerns that you may have, whilst remaining sensitive and respecting confidentiality. In order to increase outreach, I registered as an OU Coffee Ambassador (University-wide support). We aim to provide as many support networks across the university setting, in the hope that people feel comfortable approaching us. I have also sought out additional training with Mental Health First Aid England. It’s been an incredibly rewarding/valuable experience and I continue to look for ways to promote awareness.