Reah is a research technician who is working alongside Professor Graham Cook. Their research focusses on next generation oncolytic viruses (NGOV) for the immunotherapy of ovarian cancer.
What inspired you to be a scientist?
When I was younger, I knew that I wanted a career which involved helping people. This dream and my strong interest in science has enabled me to be in a role which encompasses both. Now as an early career researcher, I feel motivated everyday by the fact the work I am doing in the laboratory has the potential to improve the lives of cancer patients.
What projects are you working on that are funded by Ovarian Cancer Action?
I began working on a project funded by Ovarian Cancer Action in April 2021. This project is looking at next generation oncolytic viruses (NGOV) for the immunotherapy of ovarian cancer. The aim of this project is to identify immune evasion strategies that prevent effective immunotherapy in ovarian cancer patients and to develop strategies to overcome them using NGOVs.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
There are many aspects of my job that I find exciting including the supportive team of colleagues I get to work with. Another aspect is the variety of experiments I can perform, meaning two days are never the same. I enjoy analysing the data which then allows further experiments to be planned in the coming weeks.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Sometimes it is disheartening when an experiment does not give the results you are expecting. However, this is also a great opportunity to find out what can be done differently next time.
How has Covid impacted your work over the last year?
I started my role during the pandemic, which means working in line with the current guidelines is how I have had to work from the beginning. This has involved online laboratory group meetings, one-way systems, wearing masks and occupancy limits in certain areas to adhere to social distancing. However, these are all necessary measures to make the laboratory a safe place to work and allow the research to continue.
What’s your favourite piece of lab equipment?
I have been interested in the flow cytometer ever since my master’s degree where I had the opportunity to work in a flow cytometry laboratory and carry out my research project in this area. It is a very useful piece of equipment which allows different cell types to be distinguished in a sample based on their size, granularity and the surface proteins they express. Flow cytometry is also one of the techniques I am using in this ovarian cancer project.
What music/podcasts do you listen to while you are working?
I find it easier to concentrate when I am not listening to music, sometimes the radio is on for everybody to listen to which is enjoyable.
How many cups of tea/coffee do you drink a day?
I usually have 2-3 cups of coffee a day.