Dr Sevasti Zervou
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher
Radcliffe Department of Medicine – Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Tell us a bit about your role
I am a Senior Research Scientist within a team that works on energy metabolism in the heart, funded by the British Heart Foundation. I grew up in Greece and then completed my undergraduate studies and PhD in the UK. Following postdoctoral work at the University of Warwick (molecular endocrinology), I joined a multidisciplinary team of physiologists, cardiologists and imaging experts in Oxford and together we developed new projects, that took the research of the group to the next level, resulting in several publications in highly regarded peer reviewed journals. Being part of collaborations, has made my work even more interesting, introducing new ways of addressing research questions especially when interacting with pharmaceutical industry, towards translational projects. I am an active member of the Environment and Culture committee under the Athena SWAN general initiative, which expands through the rest of Medical Sciences departments and aims to bring positive cultural change at work.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
Mentoring junior colleagues through a dedicated scheme in our department has been very rewarding in terms of giving back to the research community. Supervising graduate students and guiding them through every step of their research degree, expands teaching skills and it is something I have enjoyed over the last 10 years in Oxford.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
One of my early tasks was to set up assays and identify drugs to maintain energy homeostasis in the heart, via the creatine transporter. This is ongoing work that was initially funded locally, but has now evolved and continues through a collaboration with a pharmaceutical company. I have contributed towards establishing high throughput compound screening, closely with our industry partners.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
I would like to see academic leaders focus on wellbeing of students and staff and the current pandemic has taught us how important this is. In terms of career development, all staff in MedSci could be supported more, to reach senior/leadership roles, whether they are basic scientists or clinicians. The relationship between academia and pharma industry should be revised, towards successful collaborations that would bring a new era in drug discovery against disease.