Profile – Isabelle Foote

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Isabelle Foote

Job title:

PhD Student

Place of work / study:

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London.

Area of Research:

Psychiatry and dementia.

How is your work funded:

The George Henry Woolf legacy fund

Tell us a little about yourself:

I completed my Bachelor (Hons) in Nursing at the University of Birmingham in 2017. During my training I became increasingly interested in clinical research and my tutors encouraged me to apply for an MSc in Neuroscience at King’s College London. During my MSc I specialised in neural stem cells and nervous system repair research. I completed my project in the SPI lab where I measured the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids on hippocampal stem cells. This work introduced me to the field of neuroimmunology and I became fascinated by the effects that inflammation might have on both depression and dementia. In December 2018 I began my current PhD project with the Centre for Psychiatry and Preventive Neurology Unit at QMUL which explores the shared aetiology between depression and dementia. For this, we are using statistical modelling methods using large datasets to look at shared genetic and environmental pathways between the two disorders and are setting up a case-control study in East London to measure early cognitive and biological changes in patients with depression, MCI and dementia.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I have an irrational fear of slugs.

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

 My interest in neurology and neuroscience began when my sister was diagnosed with epilepsy. During my gap year I helped my grandad to care for my grandmother at home after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I learnt a lot about the impact of dementia on a family and the difficulties that are faced. Later, as a student nurse and healthcare assistant I provided care for many people with dementia. I was saddened by the psychosocial burden of dementia on everyone involved and our current lack of effective treatments. These frustrations are what inspire me to work in dementia research as I believe there is a lot of promise in the area despite the many hurdles.

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