Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Women in Science

Anushka did medicine at Cambridge and then moved to Oxford for clinical training. She worked as a University Lecturer for a while before starting her DPhil, which was funded by a fellowship from the NIHR. When her DPhil is finished she plans to complete her specialist training in rheumatology and seek funding for more research.

Portrait of Anushka Soni© Women in Science


at the time of the interview - April 2015

Anushka is a Rheumatology Registrar and DPhil student. She has two young children. 

Extended biography

at the time of the interview - April 2015

When she was at school Anushka was good at physics and mathematics. Her parents had medical careers, which influenced her decision to study medicine at Cambridge University. She moved to Oxford to do her clinical training.

ultimately you have the potential to change a lot of people’s lives through doing research ... by helping to contribute to that process of understanding how something works and why something is the way it is you can actually help shape clinical practice in a different way as well

While Anushka was doing her specialist training in rheumatology she was encouraged to apply for a University Lectureship. This post gave her the opportunity to get involved in research. She spent about half of her time on clinical duties, and the other half teaching and doing research. During the Lecturer post she was studying women in a community-based cohort study, looking for features of joint pain.

Anushka got married in 2007, before she started her rheumatology specialty training. She decided to do a DPhil to continue her work and interest in levels of pain. Most importantly she wanted to see if the type of pain women experienced before surgery predicted how they did after surgery. She won an NIHR Fellowship to fund her DPhil, which she has nearly finished. She measures pain thresholds in various ways. In a sub-set of patients she uses neuro-imaging to assess perceptions of pain before and after surgery. This is done using MRI.

When Anushka was 32 she became pregnant. She took maternity leave a month after starting her DPhil. She took 10 months off work and then returned full time. She took more maternity leave when she had her second baby. When Anushka returned to work the children went to a day nursery for half of the week. They spent the other half of the week with grand-parents during the day. Anushka’s husband took an active role in child care and for a long time was the main person doing the drop off and pick up from nursery, because the nursery was near to his work place. All this ‘support’ enables Anushka to continue working full time without ‘too much guilt’. However, Anushka still has main responsibility for making plans for the children if one of the grand-parents is away.

When Anushka has finished her DPhil she plans to finish her specialist training in rheumatology, working part time. She would like to continue doing research too, because she believes it has the potential to change many people’s lives. Ethnic background/nationality: British Asian.