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Project researcher: Dr Charis Manganis, Academic Foundation Doctor

Before starting her research block as a Foundation Year 2 doctor, Charis thought carefully about which project to take on. (There certainly is no shortage of them in Oxford!). It was very tempting to go back and pick up where she had left off with her previous Hepatitis C work as an undergraduate, but she decided that since she is still in training, it is important to push herself out of her comfort zone and continue developing her research skills in novel ways.

In the end, Charis decided to go for a project looking into the pathogenesis of IgG4-Related Disease (IgG4-RD). This is a newly-recognised, multi-organ, inflammatory disease, and she is looking at genes which might be upregulated or downregulated in an attempt to gain insights into the pathways that might be involved in the disease process. It has been a big adrenaline rush to be looking into a disease that has not been characterized yet.

Charis has been involved in all stages essential for translational research, from recruiting and consenting patients, through collecting, processing and storing samples, to deciding on the research questions to be answered and designing the research protocols. This was an eye-opening experience, as she learnt that actually ‘doing’ an experiment is only one small part of a research project.

The project is supervised by Dr Ellie Barnes and Prof Paul Klenerman. Charis presented the team’s research plans and early findings at Oxford University’s Academic Medical Forum. This was an opportunity to discuss the plans and findings and exchange ideas and opinions with colleagues from different departments.

July 2013

Photo credit: ismael villafranco via photopin ccunchanged