Profile – Isabel Castanho

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Isabel Castanho

Job Title:

Postgraduate researcher (PhD student)

Place of work / study:

University of Exeter

Area of Research:

(Epi)Genomics of Alzheimer’s disease

How is your research funded:

Alzheimer’s Society, Lilly, MRC, ARUK

Tell us a little about yourself:

Born in São Miguel island (Azores, Portugal), I moved to Exeter (United Kingdom) in 2015 to join the Complex Disease Epigenetics Group in the University of Exeter Medical School as a PhD student under the supervision of Prof Jonathan Mill and Prof Katie Lunnon.

My PhD focuses on evaluating functional genomics of rodent models of Alzheimer’s Disease and integrate these findings with human data generated in our group, in order to understand the relevance of (epi)genomic changes in human dementia.

Passionate about science and about my research, my work splits between long weeks in the lab running experiments, days spent developing scripts for complex bioinformatics analyses, excitingly communicating science every time I have the opportunity, and sharing my enthusiasm through teaching.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I have a big fascination for the videogame Overwatch – for part of some evenings and weekends you will probably find me playing it with my online friends or watching professional (e-sports) matches. If not on Overwatch, I will probably be meditating or practicing yoga, recently having become a fan of aerial yoga.

Why did you choose to work in dementia:

Honestly, it was the result of being inspired by a sum of ’whos’ and ’whats’. The Alzheimer’s disease side of my research took an exponential growth in me in my last year of the Master’s degree (where I focused my studies in Neuroscience) in two complementary sides: the scientific enthusiasm driven by my supervisor at the time (a ’who’), and an increasing personal care developed in me as a result of coming across patient’s experiences and stories, as well as their families’ fears and concerns.

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