Student representatives 2016-2017

If you have an informal query or wish to convey your views about EASTBIO to the Management Group, you may prefer contacting your local student representative.

Student representatives come from the first-year student cohort and are assisted in their roles by the second-year representatives (as well as the EASTBIO DTP Administrator) during their first year.

Our 2016 student representatives are...

For Aberdeen: Fiona Bakke

Project title: "Development of a proteomics platform to monitor immune responses in non-mammals" (WCUB)

Personal note:

Hi!  I’m a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, working in the School of Biological Sciences, having previously completed a BSc(Hons) in Zoology at the same university.  My project involves developing a quantitative proteomics platform to monitor immune responses in non-mammals, initially studying rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula), and then extending my work to include an amphibian species.  I hope to increase our knowledge regarding the evolution and functioning of the immune system, as well as applying this knowledge to the further study of infectious diseases in both human and non-human species.  In my free time I enjoy hiking and wildlife photography and, if I can get the time off, doing fieldwork on conservation expeditions abroad.


Darwin Anniversary Prize (2016) – for outstanding performance amongst graduating students in the School of Biological Sciences.

For Dundee: Kate Mathers

Project title: "Secretion, mode of action and utilisation of a new anti-bacterial toxin" (Bioscience for Health)

Personal note:
Hello! I’m studying at the University of Dundee in the division of Molecular Microbiology. I’m currently looking at two aspects of Type VI Secretion Systems in Gram-negative bacteria: (1) the function of the T6SS in Klebsiella pneumoniae and (2) the mechanism of toxicity of the T6SS effector protein Ssp4 in Serratia marcescens. As these secretion systems and their effectors show antibacterial activity in several species, this work could potentially identify novel antibiotic mechanisms and targets. Before starting my PhD, I studied for my BSc with the Open University then moved to Edinburgh for an MSc at the Roslin Institute. Outside the lab, I’m looking forward to exploring more of Scotland and improving my terrible baking skills.

For Edinburgh - CMVM: Rosie Barraclough

Project title: "Use of advanced technologies to enhance monitoring of dairy cow health" (AFS)

Reserve: Scott Dillon

Project title: “Characterisation of the intimate relationship between collagen and mineral during skeletal biomineralisation” (Bioscience for Health)

Personal note: Hi! My PhD project is based between The Roslin Institute and Department of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, and focusses on biomineralisation. Specifically, we will be looking into how the relationship between the organic and mineral phases at the nanoscale in bone is regulated by the cells and their proteins, using a range of inter-disciplinary techniques in biology and chemistry. To do this, we can examine the bones of mice in which different proteins have been genetically knocked-out. Initially we will be focussing on PHOSPHO1 and tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP); two enzymes which help to generate phosphate ions for incorporation into the mineral phase of bone.

Previously I studied for my Integrated Masters Degree in Forensic Anthropology at University of Dundee, and have published a paper (DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12966) and given several conference presentations from my research work there. Between then and now I have been out in the world of work, having had posts in Queen's University Belfast and University of Cambridge.

For Edinburgh - CSE: Zandile Nare

Project Title: "RNA Editing Ligase 1 (REL-1) as a novel drug target for diseases caused by trypanosomatid parasites" (Agriculture and Food Security)

Personal note:
Hello! My name is Zandile and I am a PhD student based at the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research (IIIR) at the University of Edinburgh. I did my BSc in Pharmacology at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I then did my MSc in Drug Discovery and Translational Biology at the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Edinburgh.
All trypanosomatid parasites edit their RNA for mitochondrial gene expression. An essential enzyme in this process is RNA Editing Ligase-1 (REL-1). My research seeks to exploit the unique and essential RNA editing process in trypanosomatid parasites as a target for the identification of small molecule inhibitors of REL-1. I will be screening inhibitors in vitro and in vivo against trypanosomes and control cells. I will also use X-ray crystallography to determine the three dimensional structure of REL-1 in complex with small molecule inhibitors. This will give us information about how the structure of REL-1 changes when it is bound to an inhibitor. This knowledge will be vital because it will allow us to optimize hit ligands and to design ligands that inhibit REL-1 based on the three dimensional structure of REL-1 inhibitor complexes. Ultimately, I aim to identify hit ligands that will be used as lead compounds for novel anti-trypanosomatid drugs which are more selective and potent than currently available drugs. In my spare time I enjoy socializing, reading, travelling and power lifting. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the EASTBIO application process, about my research or even if you just want a chat.