Research Degree Students
PhD Project title: “The combined effects of plant polyphenols and essential fatty acids on protective cellular mechanisms associated with molecular perturbations of obesity and neurotoxicity”.
Ellen is a full-time PhD candidate, a member of the Worcester Biomedical Research Group and an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and the Environment. Ellen started her full-time PhD studentship in October 2017 under the directorship of Dr Allain Bueno.
Ellen's PhD research focuses on understanding the complex interplay of obesity and neurotoxicity and the therapeutic application of essential fatty acids and plant polyphenolic compounds on these disorders. Ellen’s work seeks to understand how nutrition affects important cellular components i.e. membrane lipid composition and cell signalling pathways interlinked in obesity and neurotoxicity, and how a nutritional strategy may contribute to neuronal cell function and survival. It is hoped that understanding this process may contribute to neuro-degeneration prevention and novel therapeutic treatment strategies.
Ellen's PhD team comprises Dr Allain Bueno (Director of studies), Dr Steven Coles and Dr Amy Cherry. Part of this project is in collaboration with Dr Monica Telles’ group, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil. Ellen is very grateful to the University of Worcester for funding her PhD.
Prior to her PhD, Ellen completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Human Biology and Human Nutrition at the University of Worcester, followed by an MSc degree in Molecular Cellular Biology with Bio-innovation at University College Cork, investigating the relationship between bile acids and Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to working towards her PhD and teaching, Ellen acts as the post-graduate student representative for the College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences, on a number of University committees, representing the views of postgraduate students and disseminating information to the wider postgraduate student body. Ellen also runs the University of Worcester Allotment, and is involved in nutritional-based education projects and students as partnership (SAP) schemes within the Sustainability department.
During her undergraduate degree Ellen also worked as a research assistant in the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) producing daily pollen and spore forecasts for the Met Office, UK. She has been an active member of student council and served as chair for 1 year. Ellen has represented the University of Worcester on 3 occasions at the Annual National Union of Students (NUS) course representative conference. During her time at the University of Worcester she has been awarded 2 academic achievement scholarships, the Oxford University Press Achievement in Biosciences prize, Outstanding Contribution to the University award and was nominated for the Witcombe prize for the best practical field or laboratory-based independent study.
- PG Cert Research Methods, 2019, University of Worcester, UK
- MSc Molecular Cell Biology with Bio-innovation, 2016, University College Cork, Ireland (Distinction)
- BSc (Hons) Joint Human Biology and Human Nutrition, 2015, University of Worcester, UK (1st)
Posters and oral presentations
27th European and International Congress of Obesity: 1-4th September, 2020, Dublin, Ireland: Poster presentation – Title: Ginkgo biloba extract decreases saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid content in the cholesterol ester fraction of lipids extracted from visceral adipose tissue of obese rats fed a lard-rich diet
27th European and International Congress of Obesity: 1-4th September, 2020, Dublin, Ireland: Poster presentation – Title: Ovariectomy-induced menopause influences the cholesterol ester fatty acid composition of retroperitoneal adipose tissue in diet-induced obese rats, partially reverted by hormone replacement therapy
26th European Congress on Obesity, April 28th-May 1st 2019, Glasgow, Scotland: Poster presentation – Title: Ginkgo biloba extract supplementation decreases energy intake in high fat diet obese rats but does not modify tissue fatty acid composition
Seeds of Knowledge, The Hive, Worcester, 2019 – 5-minute lightning presentation and Poster presentation - Ginkgo biloba extract supplementation decreases energy intake in high fat diet obese rats but does not modify tissue fatty acid composition
Seeds of Knowledge, The Hive, Worcester, 2018; Poster Presentation - The combined effects of plant polyphenols and essential fatty acids on protective mechanisms associated with molecular perturbations in an in vitro model of neurotoxicity: Optimization of fatty acid extraction for use in Gas Chromatography