Associate Professor of Biomedical Science
I joined the department in 2003 and my research interests include cardiac physiology and metabolism and the use of endogenous cardiac stem cells to prevent heart failure. My research has shown that both endogenous cardiac progenitor cells and induced pluripotent stem cells significantly improve function of the heart after myocardial infarction. However, with both cell types, the improvement in function was not large and so we are now exploring tissue engineering solutions for cell delivery. We are also characterising changes in cell metabolism as the cells differentiate into beating cardiomyocytes, so that we can explore the use of these cells to detect metabolic side-effects of potential drug compounds.
I started life as a chemist, doing my undergraduate degree and my DPhil in Chemistry at the University of Oxford. I worked with MR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry both within the Chemistry Department here in Oxford and also in industry for Kodak Ltd and Synaptica Ltd. During my DPhil, I used MRS to study the conformation of small molecules in solution and as a post-doc I moved on to study the conformation of larger molecules such as peptides and proteins. Since joining the CMRG, I have been using MR imaging to measure heart function. I am now returning to using spectroscopy, to study metabolic changes in stem cells as they differentiate.
I had a career break to stay at home with my children and returned to science with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship which offers two year part-time research for returners to SET. Fellows carry out a supervised research project and a retraining programme at a UK University or research laboratory. This is an excellent scheme that I recommend to anyone on a career break and looking to return to science.