Cohort 6

Jaida Begum, University of Bristol

Project Title: Countering antimicrobial resistance: investigating β-lactamase inhibitors using atomistic simulation and experiment.

I received my undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Central Lancashire, where I developed an interest in computational chemistry. Motivated by this, I am currently doing my PhD in computational biochemistry under the supervision of Dr. Marc van der Kamp. My research focuses on the rising issue of antibiotic resistance which is mainly due to β-lactamase enzymes. Using simulations based on quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) along with kinetic experiments, we aim to better understand β-lactamase enzymes and how they can be targeted using inhibitors to prevent antibiotics from being broken down.


Victoria Coleman, University of Bath

Project Title: Understanding Mental Health in Neurodevelopmental Conditions: A Hidden Talents Approach.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Bath, before completing an MPhil in Education (Psychology and Education) at the University of Cambridge where my thesis focused on developmental coordination disorder. I then went onto work as a researcher at Cambridge University Press and Assessment, focusing on Curriculum, Assessment and Education.

I am based at the University of Bath and my supervisors are Dr Punit Shah (Bath), Dr Lucy Livingston (Cardiff), Dr Esther Walton (Bath), Dr Kate Langley (Cardiff) and Dr Ginny Russell (Exeter). My PhD project falls within the Population Health theme. I will be using population based data to examine the role of hidden talents in understanding mental health in Neurodevelopmental Conditions.


Bushra Farooq, University of Bristol

Project Title: What is it about ACE’s? Understanding the relationship between adversity and mental health.

After completing an MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Manchester I started working in self-harm and suicide research at the Centre for Mental Health and Safety in Manchester as a research assistant. I worked as part of the Multicentre Study of Self-Harm in England to examine the epidemiology of self-harm and outcomes following self-harm (via linkage with Office for National Statistics mortality records). I am interested in self-harm in children and adolescents and have experience of using large longitudinal datasets. My PhD at the University of Bristol will be focussed around the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and mental health outcomes (depression and self-harm) in adolescence and adulthood using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), under the supervision of Dr Becky Mars (Bristol), Dr Abigail Russell (Exeter), and Professor Laura Howe (Bristol).

You can follow Bushra’s research via Twitter


Felicia Frennesson, University of Bristol

Project Title: No alcohol in pregnancy: better safe or better worry? A digital and social media analysis of the acceptability and unintended consequences of the abstinence message.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Applied Social Research at Stockholm University, before completing an MSc in Sociology at University of Bristol where my dissertation focused on sociodemographic differences in the social context of alcohol consumption among adolescents in England. I have also studied Public Health Science at Mid Sweden University. My main research interest is alcohol consumption, and my PhD at University of Bristol will be focused on understanding the acceptability, effectiveness, and unintended consequences of the abstinence in pregnancy message.


Isobel Garratt, University of Bath

Project Title: Evolution of biocide tolerance in Klebsiella pneumoniae and it’s impact on antibiotic resistance and virulence.

I completed my undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Reading and included a placement year working at Public Health England investigating the clinical implications of prolonged exposure to a biocide in a simulated clinical setting. My PhD project based at the University of Bath closely links and builds on my previous experience at PHE and will be investigating the evolution of biocide tolerance in klebsiella with a focus on answering important questions about the evolution of bacterial biocide tolerance and the clinical relevance of the associated phenotypes. My project will include models of microbial communities commonly exposed to biocides: urinary tract infections due to catherisation and sink trap enviornment microbiomes.

You can follow Isobel’s research via Twitter and ResearchGate


Saher Aijaz Khan, University of Bristol

Project Title: Context-specific factors that drive HIV transmission among men who have sex with men: Modelling the role of behavioural, social and legal factors.

I am based at the University of Bristol Department of Population Health Sciences, where I will utilize mathematical modelling to investigate the role of behavioural, social, and legal factors in driving HIV transmission amongst men who have sex with men. For my research, I will use data from three distinct geographic locations in Europe and Africa where I will be supervised by Professor Peter Vickerman (Bristol). I have a background in Biomedical Science and Public Health with experience of working as a Project Manager and an Adjunct Faculty of Public Health at a higher education institution in Pakistan. I am a keen advocate of early diagnosis and prevention of communicable diseases, particularly sexually transmitted diseases to reduce the burden of preventable morbidity and mortality. With my PhD project, I look forward to building my capacity in infectious disease epidemiology and mathematical modelling to design context-specific interventions for the under-served communities.

You can follow Saher’s research via LinkedIn and ResearchGate


Elena Leonova, University of Exeter

Project Title: COVID-19 and lung disease: developing therapy through immune cell reprogramming.

I completed my Doctor of Medicine degree at the Moscow State Medical and Stomatological University in Russia. During my clinical residency, I worked on the variety of clinical projects, investigating the risk factors and pathogenesis of heart failure in patients with different lung diseases. My MPhil project was dedicated to the development and treatment of atrial fibrillation in patients with COPD. I also worked as a research assistant and clinician at the Department of Interstitial Lung Diseases in Central Tuberculosis Research Institute in Moscow, where the necessity of new therapy development for patients with pulmonary fibrosis has become obvious to me. My PhD project at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Dr Chris Scotton, aims to find a way to change the function of immune cells involved in the process of pulmonary fibrosis formation, thereby reducing pro-fibrotic response and facilitating normal tissue repair.

You can follow Elena’s research via ResearchGate


Rosie Mundy, Cardiff University

Project Title: Structural and biological insights into novel adenovirus-based platforms for therapeutic applications.

I studied my Integrated Masters degree in biochemistry in the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University. As part of my degree, I undertook a Professional Training Year in Professor Alan Parker’s lab where I investigated species D adenoviruses using an integrated structural biology approach. I furthered my studies with my final research project which centred on structural investigations of adenoviruses using electron microscopy techniques.
For my PhD project with the GW4 BioMed MRC DTP, I will return to Professor Parker’s lab group to focus on understudied adenoviruses, including species D adenoviruses. I will use structural and biological methods, in addition to genomics investigations with my second supervisor, Professor David Matthews, at Bristol University. Species D adenoviruses are becoming more commonly used in vaccines therefore my project will cross multiple disciplines to improve current understanding of understudied adenoviruses with high therapeutic potential.

You can follow Rosie’s research via Twitter and LinkedIn


Louise Proud, University of Bristol

Project Title: Measuring and valuing the broader patient benefits from health and care in economic evaluations.

After studying Economics at University, I spent eleven years working for a local authority, commissioning social care and health interventions. This prompted me to undertake an MSc in Health Economics and Health Policy at the University of Birmingham to learn more.
As a decision maker working across both social care and health, I was always acutely aware of the impact that the broader wellbeing benefits of treatments, beyond health gains alone, can have on people’s quality of life and so I’m excited to be starting my PhD where the aim of my research is to simultaneously include information on both health and broader wellbeing benefits in economic evaluations of health and care interventions. This is important because not consistently including broader wellbeing benefits in value for money decision-making could mean that treatments that provide broader benefits than health alone will not be routinely provided by the NHS.

You can follow Louise’s research via LinkedIn, Twitter or ResearchGate


Katherine Sawyer, University of Bath

Project Title: Cannabis, Tobacco and Psychiatric Disease: Examining the impact of single and combined-use on functional and structural brain functioning.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Exeter and then went on to study an MSc in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bath. I spent two years as a Research Assistant in the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath working on a feasibility trial of a smoking cessation intervention for people with mental health problems. My PhD will look at the impact of single and combined use of cannabis and tobacco on brain structure and function and will compare this in people with and without mental health problems. I will be triangulating data from multiple data sources and across different statistical methods, including Mendelian randomisation. I am particularly interested in public engagement and making academic research on recreational drugs more accessible for the public.

You can follow Katherine’s research via Twitter


Freya Shepherd, Cardiff University

Project Title: Investigating links between regulatory T-cell depletion and psychosis.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University where I continued to study for an MSc in Biomedical Sciences, specialising in Clinical Biochemistry. Following this, I spent two years working as a research assistant in Dr. James McLaren’s lab at Cardiff University, investigating T cell responses to Superantigens. I am now undertaking a PhD within Cardiff University, jointly at the Schools of Medicine and Psychology. This PhD will look at the links between regulatory T cell’s and psychosis.

You can follow Freya’s research via LinkedIn


Andrea Vergallo, Cardiff University

Project Title: The connectomics of Alzheimer’s risk: characterising brain temporal network dynamics in young adults at increased genetic risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease

My research interest is in multi-modal data integration for the prediction and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, I set out to investigate the association of brain structural/functional networks with cognitive and biological outcomes and to understand the impact of age, sex, and genetic risk factors on these associations.
The timely identification of Alzheimer’s brain endophenotypes and related clinical-biological trajectories is essential to develop preventive strategies and improve therapeutic outcomes.


Diana Veselu, University of Bristol

Project Title: Investigating novel therapies for cystic fibrosis combining molecular modelling and in silico drug screening with functional assays.

I completed my Integrated Master’s degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Sussex. I am now undertaking a PhD within Bristol University in Prof David Sheppard’s laboratory. This PhD will investigate novel therapies for Cystic Fibrosis, combining molecular modelling and in silico drug screening with functional assays. My project will be co-supervised by Dr Sutcliffe from the University of Bristol and Prof Callebaut from the Sorbonne Université.

You can follow Diana’s research via Twitter, LinkedIn and ResearchGate

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