I am Chichi Okagbue, a PhD student at the University of Reading conducting research on how the biological mechanisms of obesity contributes to cardiovascular diseases. I am currently analyzing adipose (fat) tissue using various staining techniques to assess the cellularity and morphology of adipose tissue under high fat fed conditions.
I gained both my BSc and MSc in Pharmacology at the University of Hertfordshire where my interest in cardiovascular science began. I enjoyed learning the mechanisms of action for the various drugs used to treat cardiovascular diseases. I also came to grow a deep appreciation on the function of the heart and how dysfunction leads to cardiovascular diseases in the hopes of discovering new therapies that can restore heart function instead of just managing the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases.
My MSc research project examined the effects of methylglyoxal, a metabolite that is elevated in hyperglycaemic states, on neuronal signalling in the colon through TRPA1 ion channel. This project consolidated the fact that I want to pursue research as a long term career to contribute to existing scientific knowledge. I also have a deep passion for cardiovascular research due to its prevalence within the black community and also having experienced loss of family members/family friends due to cardiovascular disease and it’s associated complications. I aim to develop a deeper understanding as to why that is to hopefully establish better preventative measures.
I hope to one day be able to share my knowledge and experiences to inspire a new generation of scientists who tend to be excluded from scientific research and careers.
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