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Joshua (Yifan) Li

Intercalated MBChB/BMedSci(Hons) (UCT), DipABRSM (Violin)


DPhil Student

I am a 2nd year DPhil student in the Toepfer/Watkins Group in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, generously supported by the Keith Murray Graduate Scholarship and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT) Scholarship. 

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and completed my Intercalated MBChB/BMedSci(Hons) degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2018, graduating with First Class Honours. My Honours project was supervised by Associate Professor Ursula Rohlwink and Professor Tony Figaji of UCT, where I investigated the role of matrix metalloproteinases in paediatric tuberculous meningitis. After graduation, I finished my 2-year medical internship at Worcester Hospital and my year of public service in General Surgery at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital, South Africa. I subsequently worked as an Emergency Medicine Registrar in Dublin for 9 months prior to commencing my DPhil in Lincoln College, Oxford. I hold full registrations in the GMC, IMC and HPCSA. 

Now, under the supervision of Associate Professor Christopher Toepfer and Professor Hugh Watkins, I am using tissue engineering to investigate the role of novel gene variants in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). My project is a laboratory based functional study guided by the findings from the latest GWAS studies on HCM. I have engineered the novel gene variants using CRISPR/Cas-9 into iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and I aim to further characterise the model both in 2D and 3D, using engineered heart tissues (EHTs). 

Outside the lab, I enjoy salsa dancing, traveling, playing my violin, and reading books while sipping coffee at scenic coffee shops. I am a locum Specialist Registrar at the John Radcliffe Hospital Emergency Department, and I tutor the 5th Year medical students at Lincoln College. 

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