I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at Northumbria University in 2016, where I developed an interest in the molecular mechanisms underpinning disease and ageing.
Whilst completing my MRes Cancer at Newcastle University I was introduced to the Mitochondrial Research Group where I worked under Dr Laura Greaves investigating the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction in intestinal cancer.
Trying to understand the intricate role mitochondria play in a range of diseases fascinated me and I have since begun my PhD at the WTCMR under Dr Brendan Payne, investigating the molecular basis of accelerated ageing in HIV infected patients.
Muscle function as a mediator of ageing phenotype in people living with HIV: a basis for stratified intervention
HIV patients on anti-retroviral treatment can now expect near normal survival, although unfortunately they experience increasing susceptibility to the common diseases of older age, as well as an increase in frailty and decreased physical function.
Furthermore, many of the biological pathways thought to be important in driving human ageing (such as mitochondrial dysfunction) are increased in HIV infection despite suppression of the virus with anti-retroviral drugs. For example, previous work in our group has shown that anti-retroviral therapy may accelerate age-associated damage to mitochondrial DNA.
My project will aim to improve our understanding of the exact molecular mechanisms contributing to ageing in HIV patients, in the hope of forming pathologically defined subgroups for targeted interventional trials.
Sponsor/funder: NIHR Newcastle BRC