Dr Magda Reis


My name is Magda and I am originally from Portugal.  

In 2013, nearing the end of my postgraduate studies in Health Sciences and with a passion for medical research, I decided to apply for a PhD studentship at the Jacqui Wood Cancer Centre.  With the growing competitiveness surrounding medical research funding, I was very thankful to be given the opportunity to join Dr Adrian Saurin’s lab with a fully funded PhD studentship from the Ninewells Cancer Campaign. 

The Saurin lab focusses on investigating the key players that control cell division. This is of great importance as the fine tuning of such genes ensures fidelity of this process.  

My PhD project aimed at studying the role of a central gene during cell division (Cyclin B) in a particular subcellular location. This work led to the discovery of a mechanistic interaction which generates a stop signal in the vicinity of this location until the division can occur without any errors. 

Being the first student to join the Saurin lab meant that during the course of my PhD I was able to see its progress and growth working alongside Adrian and several other talented scientists. During this period, I developed immensely both personally and professionally. Adrian’s lab was always promoting cutting edge research and the use of the most advanced technologies and equipment as well as strong scientific discussion. 

Following the completion of the PhD, I joined Oxford Biomedica (a gene therapy company currently involved in the manufacturing of AZD-1222 – Astrazeneca’s Covid vaccine) as a Cell Engineering Scientist with a focus on gene editing. This was possible due to the knowledge acquired during my PhD combined with the development of a plethora of skills such as CRISPR/Cas9, mammalian tissue culture, microscopy and several molecular biology techniques. 

I cannot emphasise enough how grateful I am for being awarded an NCC studentship which enabled me to embark in the most rewarding learning experience with the added benefit of moving to the very welcoming and multicultural city of Dundee.  

So, I hope that just like me, the Ninewells Cancer Campaign can continue to make a difference in the life of young scientists.