Samir Morsli, Age-Related Diseases

Samir Morsli, PhD student
Samir Morsli
PhD student
Using Zebrafish to Develop New Drugs for Age-Related Diseases
“Being able to carry out new research that is able to make a wide impact to people’s lives is extremely rewarding” explains Samir.
Samir Morsli, PhD student

Samir studied a PhD researching the development of a new way to source drugs that remove ageing cells using zebrafish, in an effort to keep older people healthy for a larger portion of their lives.

“I was co-supervised by Professors Ilaria Bellantuono and Stephen Renshaw in the department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease, and I chose to study at Sheffield because of the University’s strong research background with zebrafish. My project was an exciting collaboration between two prolific researchers in their two different fields and it felt like something new and different with a positive impact.”

Samir from an early age had a keen interest helping find ways to treat diseases and after finishing his masters degree in Translational Oncology, his interests shifted to research in age-related diseases. He adds, “As we get older, we gain an increase of aged cells called senescence, that no longer function the way they're supposed to. They have been shown to link with age-related diseases such as Parkinson's, pulmonary fibrosis and osteoarthritis, and when they're removed they can potentially delay and prevent these problems.”

“My research has developed a way to identify and track these ageing cells by studying a zebrafish that fluoresces green when its cells age. This means we could research drugs that make the fish less green and healthier, and I’m hoping to use this research that aids the development of drugs that adds years to our lives. Sharing this research at world-leading conferences in Germany and America was probably the highlight of my project!”

Samir plans to move to America to work in the Mayo Clinic, a world-leading institute in ageing research, writing grants for postdoctoral applications and searching for funding to start his own lab.

“If you’re looking to study a PhD, talk to people in your prospective group or department to get an idea of the space and people you'll be working with - This is particularly important for understanding what your supervisors will be like and find people that fit your personality.”

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