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International academic success for Blackburn student

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Farheen sees research published in international journal before she’s even finished her degree

A Blackburn neuroscience student had extra cause for celebration at her University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduation ceremony after her research article was accepted for publication in a respected international academic journal, which accepts articles of the highest standards.

Farheen Rokad, who this week graduated from the University with a degree in neuroscience, was named as the lead author on a piece of research published in the Journal for Alzheimer’s Disease, an international publication featuring the work of researchers from around the world.  Farheen was able to take part in the research, which looked for clues towards brain tissue damage that could account for a leaky blood-brain barrier in cases of gum disease, through a 10-week summer internship with the University’s School of Dentistry.

The 22-year-old former Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School and Blackburn College pupil said: “The internship offered a great opportunity to work with experienced researchers in a professional setting from start to finish.  I was able to collaborate with three different universities; Florida, Cardiff and Birmingham in order to work using the best methodologies and techniques to carry out the research at UCLan. At the end of the project I prepared and attended a poster presentation event to showcase the findings."

To see my work published in such a prestigious journal while I was still an undergraduate student is a fantastic reward and motivates me to excel to my full potential.

"My time as an intern gave me more than I predicted as the experiences and skills I attained went beyond scientific research. I was a student who received all the help I needed but was treated as a professional. I particularly liked the ability to work outside my academic school to network with more staff and broaden my view on how interdisciplinary my neuroscience course is.

“To see my work published in such a prestigious journal while I was still an undergraduate student is a fantastic reward and motivates me to excel to my full potential.”

Dr Sim Singhrao, a senior research fellow with a special interest in understanding how gum disease becomes a risk factor for Alzheimers disease, supervised Farheen in her internship.

She said: “Farheen spent days preparing the tissue sections and then carrying out special stains and finally examining tissue slices under the light microscope. Well, her enthusiasm, hard work, determination and above all patience paid off when she found subtle damage in the smallest blood vessels, called capillaries, in the brain region that is involved with memory. This subtle damage adequately related to proteins that were leaking out of capillaries. This was a unique finding and consequently Farheen, together with her co-authors and intern supervisor, was able to prepare a manuscript and submit it to a leading scientific journal that shares new discoveries in Alzheimer’s disease.  

“To be able to publish one’s research in a peer-reviewed journal such as the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease is an honour and to be able to do that as an undergraduate is a significant personal achievement. This sets Farheen onto an excellent start, either for postgraduate research or in finding employment, and I wish her the very best of luck in her future career choices.”


Neuroscience student Farheen Rokad

To be able to publish one’s research in a peer-reviewed journal such as the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease is an honour and to be able to do that as an undergraduate is a significant personal achievement.

Farheen is exploring a wide range of opportunities in neuroscience and remains active by volunteering in several Manchester hospitals, working as a way finder to help patients navigate their way around, and at Headway acquired brain injury association.  She has also completed work experience in Central Lancashire’s Brain Imaging Laboratory to learn how to use relevant high-level equipment.

The ambitious student, who has just begun another 10-week internship with the University’s School of Nursing working with the stroke team, added: “Ultimately I’d like to work in neuro physiology, which assesses the function of the nervous system. My research article will definitely help to make me stand out in this niche of employment and research.

“I feel it’s important to take all of the opportunities available and learn as much as I can at this early phase in my career. My education and experience from UCLan have placed me in a strong position to be confident and aim high. Through my two internships I am developing a real passion for research and the success I’ve had so far is a result of my dedication towards my studies.”

Farheen was one of more than 4,000 students to graduate from Central Lancashire this week at Preston’s Guild Hall.

Lyndsey Boardman | 14 July 2017