PhD Student, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge
Helena is working towards a PhD in the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge. Her research involves studying the mechanism by which viruses are sensed by the immune system. In particular, she studies the regulation of signalling process activated when viral genomes are detected, particularly the role of linear ubiquitin chains in recruitment and retention of signalling proteins. This work mainly involves measuring the outcomes of infection of cells with Influenza and Zika viruses, which are detected by the RNA pattern recognition receptor RIG-I.
Having discovered an interest in policy through attending one of the CSaP Professional Development Workshop, she completed a three-month internship in the policy team at the Academy of Medical Sciences during her PhD. During this time, she worked on a broad range of tasks: organising and running Academy events and workshops, scoping for new projects, responding to parliamentary inquiries, preparing briefings and working with the Grants and Programmes and Communications teams.
Through this internship, Helena developed a better understanding of the importance of how policy influences science, and how science and scientists can influence policy. Returning to academia to complete her PhD, she has found it much easier to consider work in the context of the bigger picture, and remains keen to continue her work in the science policy sphere.