Serena is currently a first year PhD student researching the pathogenesis of Down’s Syndrome Arthritis (DA). Funded by National Children’s Research Centre and working closely with the patients of Crumlin Children’s Hospital, her project is about determining the differences in immune cell infiltration as well as metabolism between DA and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
In 2011, Serena graduated with an M.Sc in Immunology at King’s College London after completing a B.Sc in Biomedical Sciences at Maynooth University. Subsequent to working as a cardiac stem cell researcher in The University of Hong Kong, Serena spent several years in corporate acquiring different skills across a variety of industries and countries. When she returned to Ireland, she was a research assistant with Dr Derek Doherty’s group in TCD examining the activation of potent anti-tumour cells, called ‘natural killer T cells’, with manufactured peptides. This was a biotech-sponsored project where she optimised techniques to load synthetic peptides onto CD1d tetramers to detect the cell of interest using flow cytometry.