Kate (Caitlin) Murnane
DPhil Student within Developmental Haematology and Paediatric Leukaemia Group
Main research interest: understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning aberrant fetal B-lymphopoiesis and paediatric Down Syndrome-ALL
I am interested in applying basic research approaches to understanding the mechanisms underpinning aberrant Down syndrome-associated fetal B-cell development. I am a recipient of the WIMM scholarship and thank the MRC for so generously supporting my work. Through my work, I hope to understand why perturbation of this process predisposes young children with Down syndrome to a 40 fold higher risk of B-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and life-long immune defects. Eventually, we hope our contributions will support the discovery of new target genes or even whole pathways, in order to help mitigate the real-life impact of aberrant B-cell differentiation programmes, for young children with DS. Further work into DS-ALL, will also support ongoing investigations into acute infant and childhood B/T-ALL within the general population, and will crucially help elucidate the role of chromosome 21 in wider haematological abnormalities.
Outside the lab, I am an active member of St Edmund Hall MCR (welfare officer, 2019-2020). I also take a keen interest in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within STEM. I am a grassroots representative for a global initiative seeking to tackle Differential Attainment within medical research and healthcare, organised by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), in collaboration with partners including the Royal College of Physicians, General Medical Council, Wellcome Trust etc.
I am also the welfare officer for Oxford Feminist Society and host my podcast Grab 'Em by the Poesy, which seeks to highlight inspirational women of Oxford (many within STEM), and the obstacles they have overcome to make their valued contributions.