Anguera Lab Post #1 – Camille Syrett, Graduate Student

January 23, 2020

Hi there, I’m Camille. As a sixth year CAMB/DSRB graduate student who recently defended, I’m finishing up my time as a PhD student in the Anguera Lab. Research in the Anguera lab focuses on the epigenetic process of X-chromosome inactivation, which happens in women to equalize X-linked gene dosage between the sexes. We are very motivated to understand why women compared to men have a higher risk for developing autoimmune disorders like lupus, and we hypothesize that there is a genetic basis in the number of X chromosomes underlying this female bias. I’m interested in uncovering how unique mechanisms of X-chromosome inactivation in immune cells may be involved in female-biased autoimmunity.

Graduate students experience lots of ups and downs throughout the process of obtaining a Ph.D. Looking back on my time as a graduate student, I have definitely experienced those highs and lows. I found that one of the most challenging moments happened during the last few months before my thesis defense. In a short amount of time, I had to balance writing my dissertation, submitting and revising manuscripts, and traveling to postdoc interviews, all while trying to be a functional human being. In the end though, these tasks ended up going hand-in-hand, and I felt that the postdoc interviews were the best preparation for the day of my dissertation. I also owe a lot to my Anguera Lab mates for making me feel well prepared and for hosting a wonderful post-defense celebration!

I feel very fortunate to have been one of the founding members and first graduate student of the Anguera Lab. It has been a lovely experience to watch the lab grow over the years, both in size and in the development of new research avenues. Thanks to wonderful leadership and mentoring from Montserrat, the Anguera Lab continues to be a great place to be a trainee, and I’ve also learned a lot about what it’s like to be a junior investigator and to set up your own lab. I’m looking forward to cheering on my fellow Anguera lab graduate students as they develop their own really exciting research projects and move closer towards defending. After my time in the Anguera comes to an end in a few short weeks, I am excited to remain in the Epigenetics Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Blobel lab.