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Maryam Alkadhimi is a DPhil student in Anderson Ryan's lab.
Here, Maryam tells us about her research, what inspires her and how she really enjoys working in the lab!

What topics are you pursuing in the lab?

I am interested in how radiotherapy can cause toxicity to the lung so that we can look at ways to prevent it. My research focuses on using slices of lung tissue grown in the lab. I am testing drugs that modify the radiation response in different cell types, trying to identify which ones may be critically damaged.

Why is your research important?

Radiation is a very effective treatment for lung cancer but can have many side effects. I hope that my research will discover new ways to make radiation even safer for the patients, by trying to understand normal cell response in the lungs following radiation.

What inspires you within your work?

I love to explore new techniques, and nothing makes me happier than when I have found a new method, and have it work perfectly (usually after many weeks of work!). For example, it is a new approach for me to use tissue slices, and I had to establish this from scratch.

Is there such a thing as a 'typical day' in the lab or are no two days the same?

I try plan my work for the month ahead. Some days I read to expand my knowledge, other days I am writing summaries and abstracts that I hope will help when I am writing my thesis. Most of the days I am working in the lab which is what I enjoy the most! I try not to work weekends, but I can find myself in the department on Saturdays or Sundays.

Completing a DPhil involves a lot of hard work, how do you relax outside of working hours?

Traveling is a major factor that energises me. I always look forward to my trips but always finish important tasks before leaving. I exercise 15-30 minutes at least four times a week before coming to the lab as it keeps me fit and happy. I also enjoy attending events at the Oxford union, it is a great place to meet friends from college and also learn from inspiring speakers outside my field.