I had a chat with Isabelle Coales, a third year PhD student at Imperial College London (ICL). Her work uses metabolomics (large-scale study of the metabolic products of cells) and transcriptomics (the study of the RNA transcripts that are produced from DNA and encode proteins) to investigate sex differences in myeloid cells.
Other cells she works with are microglia which are the resident macrophages (a type of white blood cell involved in the immune response) within the central nervous system.
For her experiments, two time points are used from the macrophages. One is when oestrogen levels are low and the other around ovulation when oestrogen is high. As microglia are present in the brain and are difficult to obtain directly, they are derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.
We also discuss the stress associated with a PhD and what brought Isabelle to ICL. I thanked her with cake so if you’d like to be interviewed too as part of our series of interviews The Voices Behind Science, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lydia Melvile is studying for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London, and is a sub-editor for I, Science