Hello everyone, I am Archana (she/her), and I am a second year DPhil student in Clinical Neurosciences at St John's. I'm delighted to be taking on the role of Secretary for the Women's Network and I cannot wait to start working with Hannah, the Chair, and all the other brilliant women in the Steering Group.
Raised and schooled in Bangalore, India, I pursued higher education in Chennai, Boston and London before I moved to Oxford. I initially worked in neuroscience research at the University before deciding to stay back to pursue my doctoral studies in neurosciences here. I hold a BTech in Genetic Engineering and a Master's in Human Molecular Genetics, and have always been keen on research in the field of neurogenetics.
At present, I work on PCDH19 epilepsy, a condition that predominantly affects girls in infancy, leaving them with clustering seizures which are difficult to treat. The inheritance pattern of this disease is quite fascinating as the gene lies on the X chromosome, making it an X-lined gene. Traditionally, X-lined conditions tend to affect men whereas, women would be classed as carriers as they have two copies of the gene that would protect them from severe disease. But in this condition, women are mostly affected. My focus is to help identify the different genetic variants and how they can lead to different phenotypes in this condition.
When I am not doing this, I can mostly be found supporting women and women led causes in and around Oxford. I volunteer for a women's charity in Oxford and I am the Women's Officer for the St John's College Middle Common Room (MCR). I am involved in the organisation of the Women's Leadership Programme at College for the coming year. Outside my involvement at St John's, I am currently Vice President of events at the Oxford Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (OxWEST) student society. I am passionate about opening the door for more women, especially those of colour and those from marginalised backgrounds, to enter careers in the field of STEM. As a women in STEM, I recognise and appreciate that it is not a level playing field and am keen to do my bit to rectify this.
I was raised by strong women like my own mother and grandmother who encouraged me to believe in myself, chase my dreams and overcome challenges. In a way, they were my Women's Network growing up. I see the Women's Network here as a collective of St John's women over the years, who look to encourage and empower current and future St John's women in accomplishing their goals, whatever they may, to the best of our ability. I could not be happier to be a part of this circle and do my bit.
In my spare time, I can be found reading a book or catching up with friends over a cup of coffee. I love travelling and taking photos everywhere I go, and I am looking forward to resuming that post-pandemic. On vacation, I am mostly found in my living room playing with my dogs Sasha and Striker.
Check for updates on the Women's Network Facebook Page