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Institute of Child Health
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Mr ROBERT FLYNN profile picture
  • Student
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology atUniversity College Dublin in 2016. However, having discovered a passion formolecular Neuroscience, I enrolled in an MSc in Maastricht, the Netherlandsentitled “Fundamental Neuroscience.”

During this MSc, I was schooled in molecular biology andgained experience in numerous techniques from animal handling and cell cultureto experimental budget planning and communication. During my MSc I was affordedthe opportunity to complete a 9-month internship which I did at the Universityof Exeter, UK. During this internship, I worked with in vitro CRISPR models ofSchizophrenia.

Upon the completion of my internship, I was employed as agraduate research technician within the same lab at the University of Exeter.During this period of employment, I was involved in numerous projects andgained a wealth of experience. Initially, I participated in a commercialventure whereby I conducted Illumina EPIC arrays for paying customers.Following this, I engaged in another project where I utilised epigenetic CRISPRvectors to target mutations of relevance to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Finally, I was also involved in a large study which via fluorescent activatedcell sorting, aimed to track the cell composition of the developing humanbrain.

After this rewarding period, I applied to begin a PhD at UniversityCollege London (UCL). I am now conducting my PhD at the Institute of ChildHealth at UCL. My PhD is in partnership with the pharmaceutical company NannaTherapeutics. Specifically, I am utilising patient derived fibroblasts toinvestigate the mechanisms of secondary mitochondrial disease with the aim ofidentifying novel therapeutic targets. 

Research Themes
Research Summary

Currently I am based at the Institute of Child Health (ICH)and thus my research focusses on rare disease affecting children. Specifically,I am conducting a PhD which examines the molecular mechanisms of secondarymitochondrial disease.

I am using patient derived fibroblasts to investigate thelink between novel candidate genes and mitochondrial functioning. Tointerrogate this, various “omics” approaches have been employed and preliminarytranscriptomic results have already been generated.

Moving forward, I will aim to functionally characterise promisingvariants in vitro with the goal of identifying therapeutic targets. To thisend, my PhD is partnered with the pharmaceutical company Nanna Therapeutics.Together, we hope to employ a library of small molecules with the aim ofisolating a potentially therapeutic compound. 

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