University of the West of England (UWE) student profiles

Current Third Years
Current Second Years
Current First Years

Current Third Years

Sioned Heal

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with Bristol + University of the West of England (UWE) 

Sioned graduated from the University of Bristol in 2020 with an Msci in Biochemistry. Her final year project was spent in Jeremy Henley’s lab studying the role of sentrin specific proteases (SENPs) in regulating the SUMOylation status of known SUMO targets, specifically the Rho GDP-dissociation inhibitor (RhoGDI).

Sioned will continue pursuing this area of interest by undergoing a PhD project in Bristol under the supervision of Prof Jeremy Henley focusing on the regulation of neuronal energy production by SUMOylation. Here, the SUMOylation status of mitochondrial proteins will be studied and associated with changes in neuronal metabolism. Part of the project will be undertaken in UWE under the supervision of Dr Tim Craig, where the Seahorse XFe24 will be used to measure key metabolic parameters and determine how changes in protein SUMOylation may affect metabolism.

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Celia Mellor

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of the West of England (UWE) + Bristol 

Celia graduated from the University of Bristol in 2020 with a BSc in Biochemistry. Using molecular dynamics, docking and in vitro techniques her final year project investigated potential inhibitors of P. falciparum’s lactate dehydrogenase in the lab of Dr Richard Sessions. This experience, along with a summer studentship with Dr Mike Jones, attempting to covalently link phycocyanin to purple bacteria reaction centres to develop biophotovoltaics, confirmed her keen interest in molecular biology.

Technology plays a vital role in aiding scientific discovery and Celia’s PhD project will use correlative microscopy and impedance spectroscopy to study changes in cell physiology for the use in bioreactors. The project is supervised by Professors Richard Luxton and Paul Verkade in a joint venture between UWE and the University of Bristol.

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Current Second Years

Asheesh Sharma

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of the West of England (UWE) + Bristol 

Asheesh graduated from the University of Bristol and University of West of England in 2016 with an MSc in Robotics. During his research project, he developed a swarm of physically connected agents and studied their use as constituents in free form soft-actuators, where their properties allow different swarm behaviour to emerge, leading to a specific morphology.

His PhD is based at the University of Bristol and the University of West of England. The project investigates the use of 3D camera systems to assess the body conditioning and behaviour of cattle. The project is supervised by Dr Andrew Dowsey (UOB), Dr Tilo Burghardt (UOB), Dr Melvyn Smith (UWE), and Dr Mark Hansen (UWE).

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Current First Years

David Alliband

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of Bristol + University of the West of England (UWE) 

David earned his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Worcester in 2021. His research project focussed on the relationship between blood fatty acid content and cognition under the supervision of Dr Allain Bueno. He then investigated infection-induced neurodegeneration and action selection in Drosophila during his MRes at the University of Birmingham in 2022, supervised by Prof Alicia Hidalgo and Assoc Prof Carolina Rezaval.

David’s PhD project is supervised by Prof Jon Lane and Dr Lucy Crompton investigating autophagy control of human neuroinflammatory signalling using hiPSC-derived astrocytes, microglia, and neurons in 2D and 3D co-cultures.

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Tom Gerrard

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of Bristol + University of the West of England (UWE) 

After graduating from University of Bristol with a BSc Biology, Tom completed a master’s by research degree in biological sciences. His research master’s focussed on the development of single nucleotide polymorphism marker panels which would allow rapid genotyping of unknown pathogenic bacteria.

His PhD project is supervised by Dr Darryl Hill from Bristol and Dr Lynne Lawrance from UWE. Tom aims to use his background in bioinformatics to look into the population biology of Moraxella catarrhalis and to provide insight into the pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance of these opportunistic bacteria.

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Anusha Mohankumar

CASE studentship led by Rothamsted Research

Anusha graduated with a BSc Agriculture Sciences from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, in 2018 and an MSc Entomology from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, West Bengal in 2020. Her research focused on understanding the population dynamics of arthropods in the cabbage ecosystem. Post studies, she worked as a junior researcher at Tranalab Pvt Ltd, where she gained experience in molecular cloning, plant transformation and tissue culture.

Her research experience and passion for helping the agricultural society motivated her to undertake the PhD under the Syngenta CASE Project, which aims to identify semiochemicals in soil. The semiochemical blends identified through the project act in a non-toxic mode of action and can provide an environmentally benign alternative for the management of wireworms. This project is supervised by Dr Jozsef Vuts (Rothamsted Research), Dr Pete Maxfield (the University of the West of England) and Dr Benedikt Kurtz (Syngenta).

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