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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Blizard Profile: Ryan Wallis

Later this year, the Blizard Institute will welcome PhD students and early career researchers to the yICSA Senescence Symposium 2022. As Blizard Lead of yICSA and Vice President of the Association, we met with Postdoctoral Research Assistant Ryan Wallis to find out more about the event.

Ryan Wallis in the lab

Ryan Wallis

Name: Ryan Wallis
Role: Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Centre: Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research

On Friday 29 April, you will be hosting the yICSA Senescence Symposium 2022, as Blizard Lead of the Young International Cell Senescence Association (yICSA). What can you tell us about the event?

Senescence is field that has experienced a huge surge of interest in recent years and is thought to be a contributing factor in a plethora of varied pathologies including ageing, cancer, inflammation, cardiology and neurodegeneration. As more groups begin to study this fascinating process, opportunities for early career researchers (ECRs) to share their research have become more limited, an issue exacerbated by the pandemic. Our symposium aims to provide a relaxed and friendly forum for PhD students and Post-Docs (both within and outside of QMUL) to present their work and network. The event should be of interest to anyone whose research falls under the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry's Strategic Research Theme of 'Lifelong Health' and whilst all talks and posters will be delivered by ECRs, we would be delighted to see as many lab-heads attend as possible. We are also pleased to say that Dr Juan-Carlos Acosta will be the Keynote Speaker.

Register for the yICSA Senescence Symposium 2022

Tell us more about the yICSA and you role in it?

yICSA is part of the broader International Cell Senescence Association (ICSA) and aims to provide a voice for ECRs in the senescence field. We are a group of PhD students and Post-Docs from labs across the globe including the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, India and the US. We established the group after the Montreal ICSA conference in 2018 and I have been vice president since then. In last 3 ½ years, yICSA has held a range of events, from networking and career development sessions at the annual ICSA conferences, to smaller local meetings and social events. During the pandemic, we also hosted an online webinar series to allow the field to keep in touch and even secured the legendary Leonard Hayflick as our final speaker. These webinars are all available on our YouTube page.

Tell us more about your work as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the Blizard Institute. What’s the most interesting thing you’re working on right now?

My project aims to identify compounds that induce senescence as a potential therapeutic strategy in basal-like breast cancer. We have embarked on a high-throughput drug-discovery pipeline (using the liquid-handling robot in the phenotypic screening facility) and are beginning the process of target identification for our lead compounds.

What are you passionate about?

Learning for the sake of learning. It’s always good to try and get to grips with something new. Plus it helps in a pub quiz!

Tell us something that we don’t know about you!

During all the various lockdowns I got quite in to Birdwatching. So if you ever need to know the difference between a Goshawk and a Sparrowhawk, I’m your guy.



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