Women in Science
Anna did a BSc in medical biochemistry at Surrey, followed by a DPhil at Oxford. She did postdoc work at the University of Exeter and in the USA. Then she moved back to Oxford, where she was awarded several fellowships, so that she could continue her work into the causes of diabetes.
© Wellcome Trust
at the time of the interview – January 2015
Anna is a Professor of Molecular Genetics & Metabolism and a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine. She works in the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM). She has one child.
at the time of the interview - January 2015
Anna was good at science at school, and went to the University of Surrey to study medical biochemistry. During her BSc she had the opportunity to spend a year working at Barts Hospital in London doing oncology research. She then went to Oxford to do a DPhil, looking at the genetics of Type 2 diabetes.
You’ve got to find that area of independence where you can be seen as the leader, the person who’s going to drive that research question forward
After her DPhil, Anna went to the University of Exeter for postdoctoral research. She worked on a project with colleagues and discovered a new genetic cause of diabetes. This discovery meant that babies and children with that particular form of diabetes no longer have to have a daily injection. They can have a tablet instead. At that time Anna had a great female mentor who helped her with her career. Next Anna wrote an application to the European Foundation for the study of diabetes, and got a travelling fellowship, which allowed her to go to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she learnt new techniques.
Then Anna was awarded a fellowship from Diabetes UK, a R.D. Lawrence Research Fellowship. This gave her funding for three years to set up a lab in Oxford and to continue her research. In 2007 she was awarded a Medical Research Council New Investigator Award, which gave her another three years funding and in 2011 she won a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Research, which gave her another five year period to continue her research into diabetes. At the end of this year she will have to apply to Wellcome for a renewal of this fellowship. She knows that this will not be easy.
Anna had a baby during the time that she had the MRC New Investigator Award. The MRC paid her during the six months that she took off for maternity leave, and gave her an extra six months for her research. Anna kept in close touch with colleagues during this time and worked at home writing papers. When she returned to work her baby went to the local NHS nursery, which was ideal because it was very close to her office.
Anna is very busy doing research, writing grant applications, supervising students and doing administrative work. She believes that science is a great job for those who have a passion for the subject. She doesn’t have clear boundaries between her work and personal life and loves her work. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.