SciSoc Spotlight Issue 16 – Emily Staricoff

25 January 2021. Emily Staricoff is doing a PhD with the Institute of Metabolic Sciences. A PDF version of this Issue is available here.

Research focus: Clinical biochemistry, functional neuroscience

I am doing a PhD researching the neurocircuitry surrounding hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). People using insulin to treat diabetes have an increased risk of experiencing hypoglycaemia. Over time, they can gradually stop realising that their blood sugar is falling, until it becomes dangerously low, this is termed hypoglycaemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF). We don’t know why people might lose awareness of having low blood sugar, but I hope my research will help solve some of this puzzle.

What made you decide to pursue research?

I decided to do a PhD because it represents a unique opportunity to delve deeply into a topic of interest. Being able to pursue your own research ideas is very rewarding. I was also keen to pursue research in an area where I could easily see the direct real-world, clinical impact it would have. It is a privilege to be part of such an influential department, surrounded by inspiring scientists. I really enjoy the variety that doing practical lab work brings to the day.

What would be your advice to aspiring researchers?

Science is not an easy route, but it is certainly rewarding! Find a broad area of research that you are passionate about, and then read the websites of lots of different related departments to see what jumps out at you most. Always say “yes” to any experiences that you are offered, and don’t be afraid to try a few different types of research before you find the one that you want to pursue further. Perseverance is key, but nothing beats the excitement of new discoveries! Honesty and openness will get you far.

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