Staša Stanković, a PhD student in Genomic Medicine at Clare Hall, has been shortlisted to the top ten within the Biological and Biomedical Sciences category in STEM for Britain – a major scientific poster competition organised by the UK government’s Parliamentary & Scientific Committee. She will present her work to Parliamentarians and subject judges on 7 March 2022, and compete for the Westminster Medal.
The competition and exhibition which has been held in Parliament since 1997. Its aim is to give members of Parliament an insight into the outstanding research work being undertaken in UK universities, while bridging the gap between scientific advancement and policy implementation by offering a platform for communication between academic and government bodies.
Ahead of March, Staša comments:
Women’s health has been neglected for decades, with less than 2.5% of publicly funded research dedicated to reproductive health, despite the fact the one in three women will suffer from a reproductive problem in the UK. It is exciting being at the forefront of this revolutionary journey, where through discovery of novel genes governing the timing of menopause, we are paving the way towards first prediction test and treatment targets. Addressing the issue of infertility is also of large socio-economic importance, thus presenting our work at the UK Parliament represents a unique opportunity to raise the awareness around women’s health amongst the most influential public leaders.
Staša Stanković is a third year PhD student in Genomic Medicine at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, School of Clinical Medicine (University of Cambridge), supervised by Professor John Perry, Professor Ken Ong and Professor Eva Hoffmann. Stasa’s groundbreaking project elucidates the potential of genomics and proteomics techniques in reproductive ageing and fertility, highlighting its impact on UK healthcare. She is specifically focused on understanding the genetic architecture behind menopause and reproductive lifespan, and their link to later-life cardio-metabolic health outcomes in women. Currently, in clinical practice there isn’t a single test that can predict the menopausal age, nor the methodology that can prolong reproductive window and improve fertility. Using cutting-edge genomic technologies in large-scale population studies, such as UK Biobank, Stasa and her colleagues were the first to identify the largest number of genetic markers that determine the age of menopause and demonstrate the ability to through genetic manipulation of discovered gene candidates slow down ageing of ovaries and prolong fertility in mice. This has potential to pave the way to fertility treatment that could extend the natural reproductive lifespan of women, and to novel markers to improve the prediction of early menopause and natural fertility window, thus helping women make more informed reproductive choices.