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Nadia Capatina talks about human development and how the award will support her research

Nadia is a second-year student on the Cambridge Graduate Medical Course, training to be a medical practitioner. She received the award as College support towards her research project. In this interview she tells us about her research inspiration and ambitious plans for the future.

My interest in healthcare started more than 14 years ago, when my parents brought my little brother into this world. My mum supported my enthusiasm in my brother’s uterine growth by taking me to all her antenatal appointments. Since then, it has been my mission to gain a better understanding of human development and use this knowledge to support people with difficulties in conceiving a child. I undertook my PhD (Role of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Trophoblast Stem Cell Differentiation; 2019) at the Centre of Trophoblast Research in Cambridge (supervised by Professor Graham Burton) before coming to College to start my medical training. 

My long-term aim is to become a clinical academic, involved both in caring for patients and in carrying out research. Starting as an early-career researcher has been daunting, especially during the pandemic when access to labs has been so difficult. As a result of funding from a Santander Universities Award, provided by the College, I will be able to carry out some experimental studies in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. I am now able to concentrate on my studies and keep my laboratory skills active, without having to be concerned about funding. I intend to submit a paper about the study for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal and present my findings at a conference where I can network and learn from others in my field. I am immensely grateful to Santander for their generous gift! 

Lucy Cavendish College has been my home since 2019 but it feels much longer.  The cosy rooms with their amazing views to the gardens and the Library, with its beautifully arranged books and, most of all, the staff and students, make it a most pleasant place to live. 

Cell division in the early embryo
Cell division in the early embrio
Colours of early embryo development

Colours of early embryo development