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Solving the puzzle: Immune system insights

This article featured in Illuminate Newsletter Winter ‘23
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Postdoctoral researcher Dr Sophia Davidson studies the immune system in the quest to develop new treatments for autoinflammatory diseases.

I knew I wanted to be a scientist… since I can remember. I’ve always loved puzzles, pulling things apart to see how they work and testing ideas in the natural world.

What I love about the immune system is… how elegant it is. Studying how immune cells behave and communicate and then seeing parallels in the world around me is amazing. Long before we thought of security systems, evolution had built the immune system.

What gets me out of bed in the morning is… one aggressive toddler, often asking if we can go to FROEBEL (the Professor Lynn Corcoran Early Learning Centre at WEHI Parkville) a bit earlier so we can head up to the tearoom for a chocolate biscuit.

The thing I’m proudest of is… our lab’s collaboration with a children’s hospital that transformed a little toddler’s life. This child had been struggling for months with a wound that refused to heal, and our clinician collaborators suspected an autoinflammatory disease was the culprit. I analysed the patient’s blood and my results went into the design of a treatment plan. Our lab also helped deliver a genetic diagnosis. The impact was revolutionary – the wound healed, and this toddler is now happily enjoying life to its fullest.

When I meet someone new, I explain what I do as… I’m a doctor, but I am not particularly helpful in an emergency!

First published on 10 June 2023
This article featured in Illuminate Newsletter Winter ‘23
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