Profile: Rachel Finlay

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Becker Profiles | 0 comments

Rachel Finlay is a PhD student from our Wellcome Trust Immunomatrix in Complex Disease PhD Programme based in the Heprowth Lab. Find out about how an MSci in Cell Biology at UCL led to Rachel applying to be a PhD student here at the Becker, her current research investigating innate lymphoid cells in the gut, future career hopes, and how she enjoys organising social events.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background in research 

I am currently a final year PhD student in the Hepworth Lab investigating how innate lymphoid cells communicate with other immune cells in the gut to control immune responses in the intestine. Before I started my PhD, I did an MSci in Cell Biology at the Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology (LMCB), UCL where I did a lab placement in the Acton lab. It was this time that made me decide I would like to do a PhD. The Wellcome Trust Immunomatrix in Complex Disease PhD Programme here looked really good and some of the themes of the programme followed on nicely from what I had learned during my undergraduate degree, so I applied and then moved up to Manchester to start my PhD.


What excites you about your research right now?   

I think right now the fact that we’re following up on some preliminary data that’s super interesting! It’s really exciting to think about where the data might lead us down the line.

What are your career goals  

In the short term, I’m mainly aiming to finish up thesis writing and balance this with still doing some work in the lab! At the moment, after my PhD I’m hoping to do a postdoc. 

What’s great about immunology at Manchester 

The people! The Lydia Becker Institute is very social, and everyone is really helpful which keeps you going in tough times. I’ve also really enjoyed being part of the team that’s helped to organise the institute socials throughout my PhD too, as it’s been a great way to get to know everyone outside of working in the lab.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  

In my free time, I definitely enjoy getting outside, we’re really spoilt for choice here with the peaks, lakes, and North Wales so close to Manchester. Getting involved in the Becker 5-a-side football team has also been really enjoyable as I hadn’t played much football before my PhD! It was also a great way to meet other people in the institute who I might not see as much day to day.

Follow Rachel on Twitter (X): @rach_finlay

Photo: Brian Chan