Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?
I studied chemistry and analytical chemistry at King's, then pursued a PhD in mass spectrometry at Imperial. Afterwards, I spent some time in Pavia studying polymer interactions. Following that, I transitioned into omics and big data research in Medicine as a postdoc at Imperial. In 2006, I was offered a lecturer position at King's, and in 2018, I relocated to Copenhagen to conduct research at a diabetes hospital called Steno, where I led the Systems Medicine group. Now, I'm back at King's, where I'm setting up a lab for neuro and metabolic research, teaching in the MSc programs, and still collaborating with the clinicians and team at Steno for a day each week.
What do you think people in the School would find most surprising about you?
I did my chemistry undergrad at King's back in the late 90s, and I have very good memories of that time. The staff were incredible, very knowledgeable and witty. One would point to a guy across the lab and say, "You see that man over there? I think he's an important man." it was none other than Maurice Wilkins.
Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about?
A good number of my projects revolve around drug discovery using multiomics in Alzheimer's disease, diabetes complications, and obesity. We've got cohorts with thousands of clinical samples from which we generate omics data, and then we use bioinformatics and machine learning to investigate the biology. Over at Steno diabetes hospital, we're trialling our discoveries, such as a project testing lipid inflammatory biomarkers in people with diabetes. This helps customize their treatment based on their cardiovascular disease risk.
I'm also exploring the possibility of implementing omics mass spectrometry technology at King's. It's quite a challenge because high-end mass spectrometers require a significant investment, and fields like lipidomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and big data analytics are essentially experimental sciences on their own, but this technology has immense potential to push the boundaries of scientific discovery.
What do you do with your time outside academia/work?
I like gardening, cooking, DIY, painting, long walks, going to cafes and restaurants with friends & family.
Who inspires you most and why?
My mom, in her late 60s she decided to tackle a psychology degree through the Open University. She's all about lifelong learning, living life to the fullest, and taking on new challenges.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I’m torn between training many scientists in my lab, and the molecular discoveries for drug discovery and treating patients.
What is your favourite thing about working at King’s?
I like that King’s is so international and diverse, the energy that this brings to a workplace.
Favourite London restaurant: none yet… in Barcelona, Oria
Favourite cuisine: Spanish
Netflix recommendation: just saw “who is Erin Carter?” it was shot in the area where I go on holidays.
Coffee order: at home 7 am with a barista machine and Italian coffee.