Ms Aine McCarthy
Before joining the Barts Cancer Institute, I completed my BSc in Genetics at University College Cork, in Ireland.
I am currently looking at the process of autophagy in follicular lymphoma and its transformation to DLBCL. I plan to look at the effects of autophagy inhibition and autophagy defects in FL and see if they have a role in progression/transformation of the disease. I will be looking at specific proteins within the pathway such as p62 and hoping to assess whether these could be used as potential markers of transformation.
Life at the Institute
I decided to study in England as opposed to Ireland as I want to learn from as wide a range of colleagues and environments as I can. I decided on QMUL/BCI as it has a long history of producing high quality work by excellent researchers. Within it the centre for Haemato-Oncology has state of the art facilities and researchers that are at the top of their game. The people I work with are determined, focused, friendly and encouraging. They are willing to share what they know with others and are always on hand to offer advice and support, especially to the new kid!
In December 2010 I was given the opportunity to attend the American Society of Haematology (ASH) Conference in Florida. It was my first time attending such a conference and I found it both enjoyable and beneficial. It gave me the opportunity to listen to interesting talks that were directly and indirectly relevant to my work. As a first year student it showed me what level and quality of work is required to participate in a conference. It was a highly motivational few days and I returned determined to be involved in next year’s conference – in San Diego!
There have been a few. Like the time I completely forgot to block my membranes when doing a western blot. The result was membranes with a lot of background noise and totally un-useable. I felt so useless at the time but it’s a mistake I have yet to make again! Then there was the time I stained slides and used the wrong secondary antibody. This really got to me until my supervisor re-assured me that these things do happen and the important thing is to learn from it, and believe me I have!
I wish I had known that people mean it when they say that the first year is a steep learning curve. It takes time to adjust, to find your feet and to get your head around it all. And that they also mean it when they say it does get easier and that results will come!
At the moment I have tunnel vision regarding completion of my PhD, but I do have some plans for after it. I hope to do a post doctorate (or two) and eventually work my way up to having my own research group while also lecturing. I love the idea of passing on information to others and seeing what they take out of it.