ApconiX Welcomes Hannah Jennings

Hannah Jennings | ApconiX

ApconiX is delighted to welcome Hannah Jennings for a years’ Internship, joining the team working in our ion channel laboratory.

Hannah graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Biochemistry before studying for a MSc in Advanced Biological Sciences where she investigated the use of induced pluripotent stem cells for the replacement of damaged or lost Trabecular Meshwork cells, to treat primary open angle Glaucoma. Hannah gained further cell culture experience during two research projects in tissue culture and cell signalling, with the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease at the University of Liverpool.

Hannah commented, “I am definitely a laboratory person.  I’m a visual person who really feels at home doing practical science”.

Hannah first approached Dr Michael Morton, Co-founder and Director of ApconiX, 2 years ago, hoping to join ApconiX for a few weeks work experience in summer 2020.  That of course couldn’t happen because of the pandemic but Hannah kept in touch and was thrilled to secure an internship.

“At the moment, I’m just learning as much as I can about culturing cells, ion channel screening and the research Kim is doing on the seizure panel.  There is such a lot to learn.  It’s not just ion channels that are new to me but the instruments too.  I’m getting to know the IonWorks, Sophion QPatch II, the Nanion Patchliner and Axion Biosystems Maestro Edge Multielectrode Array (MEA) System”, Hannah remarked.

Hannah added, “I will be focusing on a project to create a line of patch ready cells, allowing ApconiX to freeze cells at a highly functional state, that are instantly usable for assay without the need for prior cultivation. These cells will need to exhibit strong functional expression of the desired ion channel with a smooth and durable cell membrane to allow for automated HTS patch clamping”.  Achieving this would enable ApconiX to minimise consumables waste and yield crucial data about compound safety and ion channel interaction faster.

“It’s hard to believe Hannah first contacted me 2 years ago hoping to do work experience in the laboratory in the summer of 2020. I’m so glad the lab can welcome internships again and we were able to offer Hanna a year’s placement. She’s a keen practical scientist and is enthusiastically learning all things ion channel and cell culture”, added Mike.

In her spare time Hannah enjoys reading research papers.  She does take a break from science now and again and is a keen windsurfer, surfing off Crosby in Liverpool while at University.  Hannah also enjoys playing the guitar.