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Maryam Alkadhimi is an MRC Industrial Strategy Scholar who started her DPhil in 2017

Research project title: "Establishment of an ex vivo precision-cut lung slice model for the evaluation of drug-radiation responses."

  • Maryam is interested in how radiotherapy can cause toxicity to the lung and her research focuses on using slices of lung tissue grown in the lab.
  • She is testing drugs that modify the radiation response in different cell types, trying to identify which ones may be critically damaged.
  • As radiation can have many side effects, her research will discover ways to make radiation safer for patients by trying to understand normal cell response in the lungs after radiation.

On a personal note: Maryam is from Sweden, she loves travelling and finds it energising. She is also a regular attendee at events at the Oxford Union as it is a great place to meet friends from college and to hear inspiring speakers.

Best thing about this department: Maryam thinks that the international environment is the best part about studying in the Department of Oncology. There are people from various scientific backgrounds and cultures and you learn a lot from them.

Overcoming the pandemic: During the lockdown, she used her time at home to analyze some of the data from previous experiments. After returning to the lab in shifts, she made a list of experiments she had left and a detailed plan. She made sure to attend lab at least three days a week in order to submit her thesis on time.

Top tip: Maryam recommends that new students start their DPhil by:

  • doing a lot of background reading, writing summaries with references to make the transfer assessment report and thesis easier.
  • make a detailed plan for the 4 years including dates for transfer, confirmation and submission which help to stay focused. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan!