We believe our Customers aka Our Tribe are the most awesome people out there changing the world through their passions of Science, Technology, Maths or Engineering.
This week’s #ChangeTheFace #FollowFriday shares a glimpse into the life of Emma Lofthouse
Name: Emma Lofthouse
How can people follow you? @Emlofthouse (twitter) @emmalofthouse89 (instagram)
Degree: Biochemistry. PhD in placental membrane transport
What do you currently do as a job?
I’m a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Southampton in Human Development and Health.
I study how nutrients, drugs and toxins are transferred across the placenta to the developing fetus.
My current project investigates how bile acids alter placental function in cholestasis pregnancies.
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?
I’ve always loved science since school.
My science teachers were a massive inspiration for me and I like to think I now inspire students with my outreach and public engagement.
What excites you about your passion right now?
Science is full of ups and downs but I always try to be a positive person. At the moment I’m quite excited about a drug transporter called OATP4A1 in the placenta.
It transports all sorts of stuff but I’m focusing on its ability to transport bile acids.
Normally, bile acids go from the fetus to the placenta and back to the mother to avoid toxicity.
However, in a condition called cholestasis, the mother has very high levels of these bile acids so this gradient is reversed and all the bile acids build up in the fetus.
Unfortunately, in severe cases this can result in the fetus dying in the very end stages of pregnancy.
My work has discovered that OATP4A1 plays quite a key role in transferring these bile acids to the baby so it’s a potential target for therapy.
What’s been your greatest scientific achievement to date?
Success in science appears to be determined by high impact papers and grant money! I’ve not got any grants yet but I have published several papers in the Journal of Physiology and the American Journal of Physiology.
I’ve currently got a massive paper underway which, if it ever get published, will hopefully be amazing.
I’m also very proud of my –a-MAZE-ing placenta project (look on Twitter, you can’t miss it!). it’s a wooden maze game where the maze represents the placenta and the ball is a nutrient which you have to get to the baby’s umbilical cord in the middle of the maze.
Along the way, obstacles representing pregnancy problems have to be negotiated!
Who are you most inspired by today?
Wow that’s difficult.
Science is hard and I am in awe of everyone that manages to maintain a healthy work life balance and bring up a family.
I think I’d also have to say all the women in STEM that are doing amazing work to break down stereotypes and stand up for themselves.
What do you see yourself doing in ten years time?
Hopefully, I’ll be a lecturer, which is wear my strengths have always been; teaching.
Before I did my PhD I almost became a teacher so maybe I’ll be able to have the best of both worlds. It would be nice to be able to teach and maintain a research career.
If you could sum up being a scientist in one sentence, what would it be?
The constant quest for knowledge and understanding while building up a rhino skin that can take failure after failure and learn from it!