Hi. My name’s Anna Williams and I’m a first year PhD student at the University of Birmingham, in Cancer Sciences.
What do you do?
The overall aim of my project is to produce an immunotherapy to treat lymphomas. Initially I’ll be targeting a specific lymphoma which can develop following transplants, post-transplant Lymphoproliferative disease, with patient’s own immune cells. It is possible to isolate patient’s immune cells through blood samples and manipulate them to redirect their specificity. This allows them to recognise and respond to tumours. I also hope to move on to design a therapy which would be applicable for a wider range of lymphomas.
Outside your research field what other science are you interested in?
I’m really interested in phycology – it fascinates me to learn about how minds work and differ between individuals, and the huge impact that society has on human minds.
What else are you interested in?
I’m passionate about teaching and interacting with young children – they’re so inquisitive and fascinated by things that we take for granted. I’ve worked at a youth club in the past and when I told them I was leaving to be a scientist they could hardly believe me – It’s a career that I don’t think is considered very much from a young age and so promoting this and showing it’s possible is always fun. I love sports of any kind and try to make the most of the opportunities I have to play sport at Birmingham University. Other hobbies include reading, painting and socialising.
What event/lecture are you most looking forward to at the British Science Festival?
I’ve signed up to as many events about the human body and mind as possible, so it’s hard to pick! The one’s that stand out to me include ‘21st century mind’, ‘how the body shapes the mind’, ‘food addiction; fact or fiction’ and ‘why do some people become psychopaths’.