I am fascinated by epigenetics and the role the environment plays on the development of disease.
How did you become interested in translational gastroenterology?
I am fascinated by epigenetics and the role the environment plays on the development of disease. Exploring this concept in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is intriguing due to the mediating role the gene-environment plays in these diseases.
What are you currently working on and what importance does your work hold for current patients with gastrointestinal issues?
I am currently working on a rapid assay using Oxford Nanopore technologies – this has the capacity to aid diagnosis of IBD patients. The rapid test encompasses both underlying genetic mutations and methylation alterations which are biomarkers for diagnosis, disease aggressiveness and treatment response. I am also working on other projects such as understanding the role passive smoking exposure may play on the development of paediatric IBD patients. I am also very interested in the epigenetic clock and assessing if age acceleration is a consequence of Crohn’s disease. We are fortunate that these projects have been supported by the Action Medical Research.
What do you enjoy most about scientific research?
My favourite part of scientific research is exploring our findings to build a picture of how certain areas of the methylome are contributing to disease. I find this side of research truly exhilarating and it only motivates me to continue investigating.
What’s the best part of being an Oxford University TGU member?
The TGU is a great place to carry out scientific research, we are surrounded by experts in a range of fields so there is always the opportunity to upskill and collaborate. The TGU is also a very supportive environment and I am grateful to be a part of this community.