UCL Excellence Fellows 2017-2018.
Dr Alice Giustacchini (UCL Rosetrees Stoneygate Excellence Fellow)
Alice is a stem cell biologist whose research aim is to achieve a better understanding of stem cell heterogeneity in cancer and its implications for therapy resistance. During her post-doctoral studies, Alice resolved cell heterogeneity in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, using a single-cell transcriptomic approach. Such resolution allowed her to characterize a distinct leukemia stem cell population responsible for disease persistence. Therapy resistance is often associated to the acquisition of aberrant metabolic features, making cancer metabolism an attractive target for new therapeutic strategies. Alice's work will focus on measuring metabolic heterogeneity in normal tissue (hematopoietic stem cells) and in cancer (leukemia cells), to determine whether distinct cell metabolic states are functionally connected to their malignant potential and whether such metabolic dependencies may be exploited to achieve cancer eradication. In 2019, Alice joined the UCL Institute of Child Health as a Lecturer.
Dr Kerri Kinghorn (UCL Rosetrees John Black Excellence Fellow)
Kerri is an Academic Clinical Lecturer who is seeking to understand the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Her Excellence Fellowship focusses on dissecting endosomal-lysosomal trafficking defects in Parkinson's Disease. She will seek the pathogenic mechanisms linking specific genetic mutations to the development of Parkinson's Disease, using novel loss-of-function fly models (Drosophila), cellular and iPSC-derived neuronal models, and advanced genetic techniques. Overall, the aim is to use this work to identify novel common therapeutic targets in PD. In 2018, Kerri was awarded a Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship
Dr Michael Bloomfield
Michael is a clinician scientist seeking to understand the neurobiological mechanisms through which exposure to childhood trauma and abuse increases the risk of adult mental illnesses. He integrates functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of candidate neurobiological mechanisms of CTA-inducted vulnerability and resilience to mental illness with computational measures of cognition. Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of CTA-induced vulnerability is a critical step toward pathophysiologically-informed diagnosis with the potential to lead to new preventative interventions and treatments across a range of illnesses which are leading global causes of morbidity and mortality, especially in young people.