Dr Sana Suri, Alzheimer’s Society Research Fellow, leads the Heart and Brain Group in the Department of Psychiatry.
Tell us a little about yourself, and what attracted you to studying/working at the University of Oxford?
I moved to Oxford in 2011, for a year-long Master’s course in Neuroscience. Now nearly a decade later, with a DPhil and two postdoctoral associateships behind me, I am leading my own research group in the very same department. I find it very fulfilling to grow up ‘at home’, and when people ask me why I haven’t moved, I tell them about my eventful journey starting in the main building, relocating all the way to the Cottage, transferring over to FMRIB, then back to the main building, and then settling down in OHBA!
What is your vision for the team/project/research you study/work with?
We use a combination of brain and vascular imaging to understand risk and resilience for cognitive decline and dementia. It’s especially exciting to be working at the intersection between mechanisms-based and translational research, and my long-term vision is for my group’s work to be able to guide evidence-based health policy on dementia prevention. I had a brief glimpse into what that would look like when I presented testimony to inform the UK Government’s healthy ageing policy earlier this year, and I would love to keep engaging with policy makers on that front.
What is currently at the top of your To-Do List?
A lot! I will be going on maternity leave in a few weeks so my To-Do list is a mix of wrapping up on-going research projects and committee work, meeting journal deadlines, and trying to prepare for the joyful chaos that will soon ensue at home!
How did you get to where you are today?
It takes a village to get to where you are, and I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by peers and mentors in the department who have always lifted me up and given me the confidence to take that next step up the ladder. That and a combination of hard work and persistence in the face of rejection, a love of my job, and sheer luck!
Who or what inspires you?
Inspiring individuals come and go, and it’s difficult to single out one person, but the thing that links them all for me is how passionate and enthusiastic they are about their work, how excited they are about starting something new, and how committed they are to seeing their cause or project through to completion.
If you were not in your study programme/job currently, what would you like to be doing?
If I wasn’t a neuroscientist, I would be a science writer. I briefly strayed into the world of science writing during my PhD and thoroughly enjoyed it. I still try to find every opportunity to write about my research for the general public, and regularly participate in public and policy outreach activities.