Naiara Bezara – Liver disease
Norwich, Norwich Research Park
What do you do?
I work at the Quadram Institute, they have a development program for young research leaders, which I lead. My expertise is on liver disease so this what the lab focuses on. My whole career has been dedicated to understanding the mechanism underlying liver disease. All liver disease has an intestinal dysfunction or problem linked to it and also changes in the microbiome (all the microbes present in and around the body). We use mouse models to closely mirror human disease. These mice have been genetically altered so that we have the ability to control in each individual organ what genes are expressed. This is extremely helpful in understanding the crosstalk between the gut and the liver and what molecules have a role in this and might be affected by disease.
Research science is a highly competitive world, ours won’t be the only team looking at the protein or molecule we’re researching. There is an important balance between publishing high impact papers and time pressure, making sure you publish before someone else. If you don’t have publications this can affect your funding for the coming years, but I relish the challenge.
What can you see?
Our machine that allows us to identify different types of immune cells by using labels attached to specific molecules. Every cell passes through a laser one by one. If the molecule that the labels attach to are present, it is then possible to identify what type of cell it is from this. You can confirm if a molecule is highly expressed. Allowing us to accurately measure how much of different types of immune cells are taking part in the disease process.
When I’m not doing science I…
I do spend a lot of time in the lab, it is my biggest passion in life. When I’m not there I spend time with my family and son. We do lots of sports as a family running, climbing, biking. We go to coast in Norfolk as we used to live on the coast in north Spain, where we would go surfing, but usually only in the spring and summer!