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Svetlana Reilly

Svetlana Reilly

A bit about yourself

I graduated in medicine in 1998 in Russia and worked as a general physician until moving to the UK in 2005. At that time I was offered an excellent opportunity to carry out a DPhil program in basic science with Prof Barbara Casadei at the University of Oxford (the Queens’ College). The work carried out during the following years led to the award of the Transitional Fellowship by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Oxford Centre of Excellence (2013) and of BHF Intermediate Fellowship in basic science in 2016. I am currently a University Research Lecturer and a group leader/PI,  driven by the prospect that one day my work will make a real difference to patients’ management and care.

Summarise the research in your DPhil/PhD

My DPhil project was investigating molecular mechanisms underlying atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia in humans. Specifically, this study identified dynamic, time-dependent, changes in the level and sources of reactive oxygen species in patients with short- or long-standing arrhythmia. This work was published in Circulation in 2011.

About your current job, and the path you took to get there

Pursuing a long-standing interest in atrial fibrillation, my current focus is on the upstream molecular mechanisms causing/underlying myocardial structural and electrical remodelling associated with the arrhythmia. An involvement of long and small non-coding RNAs, and of G-protein coupled receptors is of a particular interest in an ongoing work. An extensive expertise in molecular and myocardial biology, use of clinical material (i.e., primary cell systems of human cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts) and of animal models, as well as Departmental support and newly established collaborations allow this work to move forward.

About what helped you/how you decided to get into this area

As often happens in science and is my experience, the scientific curiosity to pursue some exciting observations was the main driving force behind my current work. Despite the reality that the field of microRNAs and GPCRs was outside my “comfort zone” and knowledge obtained during my DPhil and a postdoc, the support offered within RDM and the University was undoubtedly the most needed and vital. The combination of scientific courage, persistence and a positive thriving environment is the key to the progress of my work.

Anything extra you found you needed to know, learn along the way or wish you had done differently

I know what I would not do differently. No matter how steep and challenging the learning curve is, my belief that the hard work and passion for what I do is something to hold on for the rest of my career.

Challenges: Pursuing my passion in science was and continues to be a great experience with a few challenges. During and straight after completion of my DPhil I gave birth to two lovely sons (DOB: 2009 and 2011); becoming a “Mum-scientist” taught me to think positively and quickly, to be flexible, and to manage time more efficiently, as neither children nor science can wait.

Advice: “Everything is possible!” advice or perhaps a life-time attitude that was cultivated by my mother. “Be persistent!” great advice that was given to me by my DPhil supervisor Prof Barbara Casadei.

Believe me a combination of these works perfectly.