My current research is directed towards understanding a remarkable process 'Genomic Imprinting' in which genes are silenced on one allele by epigenetic marks. I am focused on early life when epigenetic marks are responsive to environmental stimuli influencing short and long term outcomes. My lab is testing the hypothesis that maternal lifestyles during pregnancy influence the expression of genes in the placenta modifying placental signalling, and programming alterations in both mother and offspring. We are examining maternal and offspring behaviour, and translating our findings to humans through our 'Grown in Wales' cohort.
Maintaining a career and having a family can be challenging but any obstacles that I have encountered have been overcome by a healthy dose of stubborn determination and the generous support of my colleagues, in particular Professors Azim Surani, Mandy Fisher and the late Anne McLaren. It has also been crucial to embrace a somewhat nomadic lifestyle to pursue my research goals. Relocating to Cardiff meant starting from scratch, both for myself and my young daughter. We had to build new friendships and the much needed support network for when things do not go according to plan. But things have worked out much better than I could have expected.