Meet the Scientists

Series 9

Lora Boteva


Lora is a post doctoral scientist at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. her work focuses on genome replication: a fundamental process which allows cells to copy their DNA and ensures each newly divided cell gets a fully functional copy of the genome. Lora will talk about how this process unfolds within the complex micro-environment of the cell, the challenges it presents and what happens when it goes wrong. in addition to explaining the conceptual basis of her research Lora will talk about how the process of refining methods and reagent a molecular biologist faces as they embark on a new research project in the age of CRISPR genome editing.

Lauren Kane


Lauren is a final year PhD student at the IGMM. Her PhD project is looking at how genes are controlled (switched on and off) during embryonic development by special DNA sequences called enhancers. Laura’s work is particularly focused on a gene called Sonic Hedgehog – A key gene involved in the development of brain and spinal tissue.

Michael Jambor


Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is currently the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder and
represents the most common cause of dementia. The pathological features associated with
AD influence single neuron excitability, which in turn plays role in disturbing activity of
larger neuronal circuits. In Michael’s short bachelor thesis project, it was proposed to describe the
impact of AD on basic electrophysiological properties of cortical neurons by applying in-vivo
patch clamp method.

Maria Dokova


An almost-finished PhD student in Phonetics, Maria is currently doing an MSc in Speech and Language
Therapy at Queen Margaret University. She will talk about how bilingual listeners understand words
pronounced with the accent of their first language in their second language. Her PhD aimed to find out
how interconnected the phonetic systems are of our first and second languages. In the process she found
that the level of interconnectedness depends on the bilingual listeners’ proficiency in their second
language. Regardless of proficiency, the ability of a listener to tune into a familiar accent happens very
fast, after exposure to just a couple of words from a new speaker.

Erola Pairo-Castineira


Erola is a postdoctoral scientist at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. She is a computational biologist, and her research is focused on the genetics of hair colour. All humans share 99.9% of their genetic information, but we all look different. For example, there are so many colours a person’s hair can be! Why is that? Because the tiny variations in our DNA can have a big impact on our appearance, and other traits. Hair color can be used as a model of how the genetic information in our cells determines human traits

Andrew Yong

andrew yong

Andrew Yong is a 2nd year PhD student from the Department of Physics at the University of Edinburgh. As a theoretical physicist, Andrew studies a family of particles known as quarks. Some of these that make up the proton and neutrons. Along with the humble electron, they make up the world we see today. Interestingly, they exist in pairs, triplets,  quadruplets and even quintuplets! Yet no single quark has been observed in particle physics experiments. Andrew joins the research group here in Edinburgh to study this phenomenon of quarks in large-scale computer simulations. By comparing simulated results with those obtained from experiments, the team hopes to test our understanding of the peculiar world at the quantum scale. When the working day is over, Andrew enjoys cooking (mainly the eating part) and dancing.

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