July 20th 2015 – Devon Smith, University of Birmingham

Devon SmithHello! I am Devon and I am currently a postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham studying a Master of Research (MRes) degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I am interested in all things genetic, specifically epigenetics. I will be finishing up my Masters degree in August and swiftly moving on to a PhD at The University of Sheffield, studying the epigenetic regulation of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), bit of a mouthful I know!

Within my current degree, I get to put myself through two intensive five-month research projects in two very different labs! My first project involved investigating the role of the pro-apoptotic gene hid in the induction of apoptosis in neurodegeneration, using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. My second project allows me to study probably the best molecule in the world – RNA. RNA has always fascinated me throughout my short academic career, and this project has further driven my passion, with a specific interest now in long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and epigenetics modifiers.

Outside of the lab I am very interested and engaged within SciComm, having participated in many scientific outreach events, including most recently the Pint of Science Festival in Birmingham (I might tell you about this during my takeover as it was AMAZING!). I also a volunteer for the British Science Association, work as a STEM ambassador and, when I can, write for the university student newspaper Redbrick. I have recently co-founded a bioscience PhD forum on Twitter (with the help from a previous Biotweeps participant!), with the intention for it to be a place for bioscience PhD students to share their own research, worries and advice. If you like, you can check it out at @Biosci_PhD. I also tweet from my personal account, not always science related I must say, trying out different foods and drinking lots of coffee gets a good mention! If you like, you can follow me at @devoncaira. If that wasn’t enough, I also write a blog translating complex scientific research into more simpler term, because lets face it, even scientists find some journal papers hard to comprehend! If you’re interested in taking a peek you can find it here: https://devoncaira.wordpress.com.


I look forward to sharing my research, scientific hobbies and experiences with you! Let’s get stuck in!


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