PhD Perspective – Fiona Mclean


My name is Fiona and I’m originally from Edinburgh. I’m interested in the brain so I’m currently studying for a PhD in Neuroscience in Lynda Williams’ group at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health which is a part of the University of Aberdeen. My PhD is also a joint collaboration with the University of Dundee where I work with Ros Langston. I chose to study at Aberdeen University
based on the project that was offered here. I also met the supervisors and
really liked them. On top of that, the project was about science that I was
interested in and passionate about. My research looks at how unhealthy diets can impact on our cognition. Specifically looking to see if diets that are high in fat can lead to memory problems. It is important research because dementia diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease have many risk factors linked to an unhealthy diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. We currently have no cure for dementia, so understanding what can cause it or what can increase your chances of getting it is therefore really important. I receive financial support from EastBio BBSRC who fund my PhD. Apart from financial support my supervisors have been really supportive and my friends and family have always been there when my PhD has been
particularly challenging. I’ve enjoyed living in Aberdeen, it’s a good size of a city but my favorite thing to do is to get out of the main city and go and visit Aberdeenshire. I like going up to Forvie Nature Reserve to visit the hundreds of seals that live up
there. The other really special thing I’ve managed to see while living in Aberdeen is the Northern Lights which are a really really fantastic thing to be able to see. When I’m not studying I love to do lots of
different things. I really enjoy exercise and sport. I do yoga and play badminton and I like to horse ride when I can. I also love spending time with my friends and family. After my PhD, if the right post doctoral
position came up then I’d like to stay in research. However, I also really enjoy doing
public engagement. The university has been really supportive in all the public
engagement that I’ve done whilst I’ve been here and the Public Engagement Team are
really lovely people and very supportive. The best thing about my PhD has been
meeting people from all over the world. I have worked with people from loads of different cultures and backgrounds and I feel that no matter what continent in the world I visited, I would always have a friend there.

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