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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Emma Sutton Hilary Marsden IfLS PhD: Understanding the molecular basis of agonistic and antagonistic receptor activity for immunotherapy, 2018

Postgraduate research student

Emma Sutton's Photo

Hi, I'm Emma Sutton and I studied Hilary Marsden IfLS PhD: Understanding the molecular basis of agonistic and antagonistic receptor activity for immunotherapy within Institute for Life Sciences at the University of Southampton.

An interdisciplinary approach to research allows me to experience new techniques and ways of thinking whilst building on subject knowledge. Combining work across different disciplines helps to create an in-depth understanding of a subject area which enables science to evolve.

During my undergraduate degree in BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences at the University of the West of England, I developed a keen interest in the immune system and how it plays a vital role in many disease states. A year-long placement at GlaxoSmithKline further fuelled my enthusiasm and motivated me to pursue a career in immunotherapy research.

The ability to manipulate the immune system for the treatment of diseases such as cancer provides an exciting and inspiring field of study with the potential to eradicate the need for highly toxic chemotherapeutic drugs. In order to develop effective immunotherapeutics, it is crucial to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms involved. The interdisciplinary nature of this PhD integrates technologies such as Crystallography, performed at the Southampton Diffraction Centre and Diamond Light Source, and Super-Resolution Microscopy, conducted at the STFC Lasers for Science Facility in Harwell. The use of these technologies will allow us to use fluorescent signals in order to visualise the biology occurring at a cellular level, which used in conjunction with 3D structural information, can help us to understand the functions of different components. The combination of structural, molecular and cellular biology techniques will help us to gain the best insights into the mechanisms driving immunotherapy.

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