Council Officer – Website Group
Reader in Vascular Biology
Centre for Biomedicine, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Fiona was awarded a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from Lancaster University and studied for a PhD, whilst working as a research assistant, at the University of Wales. She joined Prof Yvonne Alexander’s laboratory in the Cardiovascular Research Group at the University of Manchester as a British Heart Foundation-funded post-doctoral scientist, when she won two ‘best oral presentation prizes’ for work on identifying and characterising novel factors involved in vascular calcification and atherosclerotic plaque development (British Society for Cardiovascular Research and the European Council for Cardiovascular Research). In 2007, she joined the newly-established Stem Cell & Neurotherapies Group fostering her interests in the pathogenic mechanisms and novel therapeutic strategies of neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorders. These included; substrate reduction therapy, peripheral blood cell transmigration to the brain following bone marrow transplant and haematopoietic stem cell gene therapy. Fiona won a prize for best oral presentation at a local conference in 2010 and was awarded a travel feIlowship in 2008 (British Society of Gene and Cell Therapy) to work with collaborators in the Adelaide Women’s
and Children’s Hospital in Australia. Fiona then joined the newly formed Translational Science Group
as a reader in Vascular Biology at Manchester Metropolitan University, renewing her research interests in cardiovascular biology where her research programme includes the pathogenic mechanisms underpinning vascular calcification, diabetes, defective endothelial repair and neurodegenerative disorders, developing new drug, gene and cell therapeutic strategies and investigating cell trafficking across the vessel wall to the brain following haematopoietic stem cell transplant. Fiona is also Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Healthcare Science, co-chair of the School’s Athena SWAN committee, involved in public engagement activities (European City of Science, 2016), demonstrating a continued commitment to developing the careers of junior members of the School, equality and diversity in the workplace and communication of science to the general public.
Vascular Biology is a fascinating and varied area of research, linked to the most devastating diseases of the modern age and it brings together expertise in various disciplines critical to advancing knowledge. EVBO provides a platform for interaction and knowledge exchange across Europe, representing an essential part of the scientific community, inspiring new ideas and building a network of international collaborators. Fiona has been very fortunate to work with excellent mentors and supervisors, who have all provided encouragement throughout her career. Fiona aims to contribute to the success of EVBO by supporting initiatives to expose younger members to opportunities for career development, by participation in conferences thus fostering links between research groups across Europe. She is also passionate about public patient involvement with scientific research, since it is important that the scientific community engage with the healthcare needs of society. She recognises the importance of website exposure of EVBO and envisages this to be an area where she could improve the profile of EVBO through up-to- date news from around colleagues in Europe.