What motivated you to come to Bristol and do this programme?
I studied Biology and Mathematics as an undergraduate in Bristol and didn't particularly want to leave! After working in the epidemiology department in CNIC (Fundacion Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III in Madrid), the Wellcome Trust Genetic, Molecular and Lifecourse Epidemiology 4-year PhD studentship being offered at the University seemed like a perfect combination of the skills and knowledge I gained within my degree and the scholarship.
What is the key research question of your PhD research project and what have you found out so far?/did you find out?
Within my research, I aim to investigate the causes and consequences of blood pressure variation throughout childhood and adolescence, with specific focus on using methods and instruments to improve causal inference. So far I have used the concept of Mendelian randomization within 5 independent studies to provide further evidence against the causal role of vitamin C in cardiometabolic and cardiovascular health. I have also developed longitudinal trajectories to study the pattern of blood pressure over the lifecourse in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial in Belarus, and studied the longitudinal contribution of genetic variation to blood pressure within the former study. I am currently working on a number of projects aimed at investigating the direction of causation in the association between vascular dysfunction and blood pressure variation at ages 10 and 17 within ALSPAC, and the association between a range of environmental measures, including early life factors, dietary intake (daily patterns, absolute nutrient intake and problematic eating attitudes), cardiometabolic risk factors, and childhood physical activity, and blood pressure over the lifecourse to identify the relative importance of each of this components on cardiovascular health.
Where do you think your research could lead and what are your future career plans now?
I am unsure as to my future plans, but I feel that I have been provided with many opportunities throughout my PhD. I feel that I would like to stay within academia, specifically working with the same people, and potentially expanding into fields that either aim to improve the measure of dietary intake or even look into more psychosocial measures of health and disease.