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Clarissa Coveney

BSc


(Kennedy prize studentship) DPhil

I want to change lives through translational medical research. I’m interested in finding innovative answers to today’s big diseases, using creativity and cutting-edge laboratory techniques.

My DPhil research project focusses on the primary cilium, its associated proteome and the role they play in cartilage biology and osteoarthritis (OA).

The primary cilium is a microtubule-based organelle present on the majority of cell types, including those of the joint. Research suggests that the primary cilium has many potential roles in cartilage including as a transducer of physiological stimuli in chondrocytes including mechanics. 

My project investigates the role of primary cilia in adult tissue homeostasis and disease pathogenesis using molecular biology, in vitro cell models and pre-clinical models of disease. My work so far has proven that it maintains influence into adulthood and in the disease context. I am now investigating a mechanism behind this phenomenon. I am part of the ARUK centre for osteoarthritis pathogenesis. 

During my DPhil I have also taken advantage of the wide range of opportunities that the University of Oxford offers. Through coxing for my college and the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club in the Reserve Boat Race crew Osiris, I helped to co-found Wattson Blue, a mental health and performance platform dedicated to help elite student athletes monitor psychological metrics alongside the physiological. All University level sports teams now use this platform on a daily basis. I also maintain close ties with the Oxford University Boat Clubs assisting with the physiological testing of athletes. As such, I won my college's prestigious Nautilus Award for Services to Sport in 2018. 

I’m a keen endurance athlete myself and have raised over £1300 for ARUK and St John Ambulance through marathons, half iron mans and ultra-marathons and have set up a beginners running club at the Kennedy Institute to promote fitness and encourage others to become more active in a friendly environment. 

I was an editor for Polygeia, a student led think tank commissioned by Public Health bodies to conduct research into Public Health areas. My team presented at the annual Polygeia conference in 2018. 

In addition to my love of fitness and the outdoors, I also have a passion for music and am a choral scholar at Brasenose College Oxford.