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Keble bioscience graduate publishes in 'Nature'

Friday 08 June 2007

The 7 June issue of 'Nature' carries a full paper by Anastasia Nijnik and her co-researchers. Anastasia was awarded her D Phil from Keble only last year.  Entitled 'DNA repair is limiting for haematopoietic stem cells during ageing', the paper has illuminated one reason why mice (and perhaps also humans) age.  She showed that DNA damage accumulates in blood stem cells during life because DNA repair by the non-homologous end-joining pathway falters.  She did this by examining in detail a strain of mice with induced but serendipitous chemical mutants produced in an Australian lab.  A human clinical disorder associated with immunodeficiency and developmental delay (LIG4 syndrome) is similar.  Her supervisor, Prof Richard Cornall, wrote about her: 'This study illustrates how a student with keen observation, and an interdisciplinary team of collaborators, can together leap beyond the boundaries of an individual discipline or question.  Sometimes things go where the student wants to go.'


Social note: Last year Anastasia married another successful Keble graduate student in Keble chapel, Dr Dil Joseph.  They were successive Presidents of the Middle Common Room and Anastasia was one of the first de Breyne graduate scholars, thanks to the generosity of Mrs Victoria de Breyne. She was also an undergraduate at Keble reading Biochemistry in 1998 – 2002.  She was born in the Ukraine and educated at the British School in the Netherlands at The Hague.  As well as her de Breyne scholarship she received undergraduate support from the Royal Dutch Shell Company and a Wellcome Trust scholarship.  She and Dil now live in western Canada, where both are in the early stages of an academic career.