2 minute read

My PhD in a nutshell

PhD students give us a brief rundown of what their research projects are all about and why they are so passionate about them.

LAURA CARTER, PhD Health Psychology: Exploring Interoceptive Crossover in Symptom Perception

Laura Carter

“Research shows individuals differ in their experience of physical symptoms and health, for example people may report more intense, frequent and distressing symptoms than others. People also differ in their abilities to recognise internal sensations in their bodies, such as heart rate, tiredness and breathing. My research aims to explore whether there are certain individuals that have difficulty distinguishing between experiences in their body that are emotional and those that are physical or indicative of disease.

Different cultures can experience the same disease in different ways. ‘‘

I have always been fascinated by symptom perception, it explores how our experiences, thinking styles, emotions and environment can influence how we physically feel and make sense of symptoms and disease. Symptoms can occur without any physical changes in the body and different cultures can experience the same disease in different ways. My research explores a phenomenon that may help us understand why some people experience disease and symptoms differently to others.”

JO KITE, PhD in Biosciences and Medicine: Blocking the entry of Herpes Simplex Virus into human skin

Jo Kite

“Herpes Simplex Virus 1 infects skin cells and becomes latent in sensory neurons. Periodically, it reactivates and causes disease – such as cold sores. In order to establish infection the virus first needs to get into skin cells. My research uses human skin cells to investigate virus entry through the nectin-1 receptor on the cell surface. In the long run, I hope to find a way of blocking virus entry into human skin cells, which has the potential to act as a therapy.

I hope to find a way of blocking virus entry into human skin cells. ‘‘

From the moment I stepped into the lab for my undergraduate project on bacteria I was hooked on microbiology. My masters then introduced me to viruses. I became fascinated by the way that such “simple” organisms can harness complex cells to undergo their lifecycle. My project, in particular, is cool because of its direct relevance to human health.”

AMMARAH FAROOQ PhD Vision, Speech and Signal Processing: Person re-identification using vision and language

Ammarah Farooq

“I am working in biometrics and for the security group at CVSSP. My research deals with searching for a specific person from a network of CCTV cameras, incorporating all the typical challenges such as blurriness, resolution and pose/ viewpoint changes and so on. I am developing the system mainly for surveillance and security applications. One unique feature of my research includes being able to retrieve a specific person under multiple query scenarios. Whether we have an image of a criminal or some verbal cues from witnesses, we can search for the person through a single setup.

Modern AI systems are based on deep neural networks which are similar to the human brain.‘‘

The main domains of my research are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The idea that machines can now learn like humans do always fascinates me. Modern AI systems are based on deep neural networks which are similar to the human brain. I am passionate about exploring this similarity, especially in terms of the latest concepts that are being developed by neuroscience.”