I received a B.Sc. in Pathobiology (1999) and PhD (2003) from the University of Reading, where I worked with Dr David Leake, in collaboration with Professor Giovanni Mann at King's College London, to investigate how cell death in the arterial wall contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. I subsequently moved to The Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at The University of Manchester to work in the laboratories of Professor John Aplin and Professor Phillip Baker. My postdoctoral research focused on how placental-derived trophoblast cells and uterine natural killer cells interact with and remodel the uterine spiral arteries during pregnancy. I also investigated the mechanisms that regulate trophoblast invasion, proliferation and survival. In 2010, I was awarded the prestigious Gabor Than Award for my contribution to the field of placentology.
In the same year, I was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship to develop the use of vascular homing peptides as a targeted drug delivery system in pregnancy. I spent 2011 working in the laboratory of Professor Erkki Ruoslahti, where I identified a series of novel placental homing peptides. Upon my return to Manchester, I sought to utilize these peptides to create biocompatible nanocarriers for targeted delivery of therapeutics to the placenta. In May 2013, my two PhD students and I won second prize of £10,000 in the OBR OneStart European business start-up competition, reflecting the continued success of my research programme.