Profile: Nabina Pun

by | Nov 24, 2023 | Becker Profiles | 0 comments

For our latest Becker Profile we spoke to Nabina Pun, a final-year CRUK-funded PhD student based in the Dyer Lab. Nabina shares her journey from Berkshire to the labs of Manchester, delving into her passion for immunology and her groundbreaking research on how radiotherapy impacts the immune system and induces tissue toxicity, and exploring the role chemokines and glycocalyx play in inflammation. Plus find out her favourite way to procrastinate! 

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background in research 

I’m currently a final year CRUK-funded PhD student in Dr Doug Dyer’s lab and co-supervised by Professor Timothy Illidge, Professor Mark Travis, and Professor Kaye Williams, investigating how radiotherapy alters the immune system to induce normal tissue (intestinal) toxicity and the role that chemokines and the glycocalyx play in local and systemic RT-induced inflammation.  

I grew up in Berkshire and completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. It was here that I first became aware and subsequently fascinated by immunology, leading me to take up the basic and advanced immunology modules in 2nd and 3rd year and complete a research project looking at PD-1 and Tim-3 checkpoint inhibitors in inflammatory bowel disease under the supervision of Professor Tom Macdonald. This 6-month project sparked my interest in research, particularly in mucosal immunology – which is now the focus of my PhD project.  It was Tom’s guidance and encouragement that motivated me to pursue research leading me to undertake a master’s degree in Immunology at Imperial College London and eventually move up to Manchester to do a PhD with Doug! 


What excites you about your research right now?   

When I started my PhD, the project was completely new and essentially a blank canvas. Now a final year PhD student, it’s been extremely exciting witnessing the development of the project and the emergence of numerous new projects and pathways as a result. 

I’m currently in the process of putting together my first PhD paper. Seeing how the figures fit together to tell a story and the feeling of contributing to the scientific community has been incredibly rewarding.

What are your career goals  

My immediate goals are to focus on finishing the final experiments for my PhD and hopefully submit my PhD paper within the next couple of months. In terms of next steps, I have loved doing research, developing ideas, and conducting experiments. I hope to continue as a research scientist whether that be in an academic setting or industry, and I am currently on the hunt for potential postdoctoral researcher positions.

What’s great about immunology at Manchester 

The people! Work and social-wise, immunology in Manchester is great! There is so much collaboration happening, and everyone is friendly and helpful!

Everyone has a great relationship outside of work too which definitely helps in building that collaborative environment. 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  

In my free time, you’ll find me cooking, baking, and watching a lot of football. I find baking incredibly relaxing and have been using it as a form of procrastination since my GCSE days!

I also love going on walks and feel very grateful to be living so close to the peaks, a perfect weekend activity.

A cake made by PhD student Nabina Pun for the Halloween Becker Bake Off 2023

Nabina won 2nd prize at the Halloween Becker Bake Off 2023!

Follow Nabina on Twitter: @NabinaPun98

Photo: Brian Chan