Wellcome Trust PhD Student Cohort 2016
Academic and Work Experience Prior to Sept 2016 Programme Start: I completed my undergraduate studies in Life Sciences in the Netherlands, where I was lucky enough to work as an intern in both the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and Utrecht University Medical Centre. I obtained various experiences in cell and molecular biology and discovered my interest in stem cells while working in Utrecht on the stem cell marker Lgr5.
PhD Programme – Year 1 – MRes and Project Rotations: During my first year in the Wellcome Trust 'Cell Therapies and Regenerative Medicine' Four-Year PhD Programme, I worked on stem cells in three different organ systems: (1) pituitary gland with Dr Cynthia Andoniadou; (2) skin with Professor Fiona Watt; and (3) liver with Professor Anil Dhawan and Dr Celine Filippi. I enjoyed gaining insight into how stem cells are regulated differently in a tissue dependent context.
PhD Programme – Years 2 to 4 – Doctoral Studies: The Human Cell Atlas is a comprehensive reference map of all cells in the body. I have now joined Professor Fiona Watt's lab and will be involved in their contribution to the Human Cell Atlas project: determining the different types of skin cells. Thousands of diseases affect the skin, and skin problems are the most common reason to visit a doctor in the UK. Using skin discarded during surgery to isolate healthy and diseased human skin cells from the epidermis (skin’s outer layer), my thesis work will include investigating single-cell level heterogeneity and temporospatial regulation. I will examine which genes are expressed on an individual cell level, and identify their location through microscopy work. Understanding the factors controlling normal skin renewal and how dysregulation of this process can lead to disease will provide further basis for developing new diagnosis and treatment options.
Daria Belokhvostova ORCID webpage