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5 minutes with Ella-Louise Hubber

Ella-Louise Hubber is a PhD student in the Department of Diabetes, School of Life Course Sciences. We took 5 minutes with Ella to learn more about her academic career and life outside of the lab.


Briefly, tell us about your background. What led you to your area of study and how are your interests evolving?

I studied biomedical science at the University of Sheffield, with a specialisation in developmental and stem cell biology. My tutor at the time, Marcelo Rivolta, had published amazing work using stem cell derived auditory neurons to successfully treat hearing loss in animal models of auditory neuropathy. I thought his work was fascinating and it is ultimately what led me to apply for the PhD programme I am currently on, the Wellcome Stem Cell and Regnerative Medicine DTP. With my previous experience and interest I was certain, at the start, that I would fall into some developmental field but I found myself doing a rotation in Peter Jones’ lab, looking at how mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) could improve the function and survival of pancreatic islets prior to transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The MSC-islet co-culture work, and the wonderful atmosphere of the diabetes research group, led me to pick this as my final project. As I enter the final year of my PhD, I actually find I am circling back around to developmental biology, as my single cell RNASeq dataset reveals unexpected changes in MSC co-cultured islets.

Do you have any current projects that you would like to tell us about?

Besides my lab work, I am very involved with public engagement and outreach. Last year I was honoured to win the Royal Society of Biology award for public engagement and outreach for a hands-on islet transplantation activity I made with students from Goldsmith’s University. This year, I am working with a student from the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s to adapt this game to an online platform for the Royal Society. I have also recently started a TikTok account where I make short videos about science, being a scientist, and common science misconceptions. I absolutely love doing this and the audience is perfect for this kind of content.

What do you hope to achieve this year?

I am in the final year of my PhD so what I would really like to do is publish a paper. I published a short review late last year which gave me a taste of the publishing process but this is a much more daunting task…. I’d also love to hit 100k subscribers on TikTok and keep on spreading that science.

What do you do with your time outside of work?

Mostly, I roller skate. Pre-pandemic I was on a roller derby team (think rugby on wheels) called the London Roller Girls but as a full contact sport we haven’t been able to play. In the meantime, I have been learning to do a few tricks instead. I am still falling over a lot.


Describe yourself in just three words… 25, white, female (I know that’s not what you meant)

Your favourite meal… Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Who inspires you most and why? Any and all women PIs. That’s a tough gig to get!

Your favourite scientist… Jennifer Doudna, the mother of CRISPR

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