Case study: Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri

Case study about Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the University of Cambridge
Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow
University of Cambridge
Materno-fetal resource allocation; altering placental endocrine function by IGF2

Tell us about your research
My research is focused on understanding the unique relationships between the mother, placenta and foetus which govern pregnancy success and lifelong health. I am particularly interested in identifying the signals secreted by the placenta that alter the metabolism of the mother in favour of foetal nutrient supply. I want to determine what role the signals play in regulating growth of the foetus, the health of the mother and the well-being of her child. 

This research is important as impaired placental function disrupts the allocation of nutrients between the mother and her developing baby. This can lead to pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and abnormal birth weight, which have immediate and long-term consequences for maternal and offspring health.

Why is the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship right for you?
The Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship scheme appealed to me as it offers the option of claiming back time spent on parental/caring responsibilities. As the primary care-giver for our daughter, this enables me to balance my personal life with my ambition for a successful, independent research career.

How has the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship benefitted your career?
My long-term career aim is to establish a research lab and pursue internationally competitive, clinically-relevant research. The Fellowship has allowed me to move into a novel area of research that has implications for materno-foetal health and that is distinct from my peers and previous mentors, thus allowing me to gain further research independence. 

What other support have you had from the Royal Society?
I have a mentor through the Royal Society mentoring scheme who has been wonderful in providing me with valuable, honest advice. They have advised me on how to progress in my career and how to approach challenging situations in the workplace, and have helped me identify where I have strengths and where I could improve.