Winter 2022

Upcoming events: STRIDES

Our Series to Tackle Racism in Developmental Science (STRIDES), will have its first event on the 12th of January, with prof. Heidi Mirza discussing how to fight racism in academia. The STRIDES events are funded by the Wellcome/Birkbeck ISSF, with their aim being to reflect on how to improve racial diversity and support anti-racism in developmental science. STRIDES is run by Dr Anna Gui (GEL lab), Prof Angelica Ronald (GEL lab) and Dr Maheen Siddiqui (CBCD).

Viva success from Dr Chloe Austerberry

Congratulations to GEL lab PhD student Chloe Austerberry, who passed her PhD viva on 6th December! The title of her PhD was ‘Using Genetically Informative Family Data to Examine the Early Development of Complex Traits’ and she was supervised by Prof Ronald of the GEL lab and Prof Fearon at UCL. Chloe is now working at the University of Cambridge as a research associate.

London Genetics Network annual meeting on 2nd December 2022

In December, the London Genetics Network held their third annual meeting – this time in person at Birkbeck.  The London Genetic Network was founded by Professor Angelica Ronald, director of the GEL lab, and Professor Karoline Kuchenbaecker (UCL).

Emma Meaburn from the GEL lab was invited to sit on the judging panel for the ECR flash talks. She discusses below…

I attended the London Genetics Network annual meeting in early December and was delighted to be invited to join the Early Career Flash talks awarding panel.  The panel was comprised of myself, Professor Cathy Fernandes (KCL) and Professor Damian Smedley (QMUL). There was a total of 15 3-minute talks from ECRs working in complex and rare genetics, from a variety of research areas including infant traits, cardiovascular disease, and Fetal Haemoglobin traits (to name a few!).  It was an incredibly hard task!  We were impressed with the scientific content, scope and communication skills of all the speakers. After some healthy discussion, we were thrilled to nominate Sonja Ning Tang (Complex traits), Catherine Huntley (Rare diseases) and Oyesola Ojewunmi (Rare Diseases) for awards, and they were each awarded a £100 Waterstones book token – and just in time for Christmas!

Blog: Summer internship project about motor activity and ADHD genetic liability

Hattie O’Rourke, a psychology undergraduate student at Birkbeck, has been working on a research project with Dr Emma Meaburn looking at the relationship between activity in infancy and genetic liability for ADHD. Originally, this project was designed for the Genetics Society’s Summer internship programme but after an unsuccessful application, Hattie and Emma decided to go ahead with the research anyway. Hattie has written a short blog about her experience and the research which you can find here.