Daniel Rock

Pathway iCASE 0+4

Cohort 2019

0+4 iCASE Student

My PhD project is focussed on understanding how and why neural stem cells in the human brain become less functional as we get older. Overall, my aim is to identify molecular signatures of neural stem cell aging and leverage that information to uncover new anti-aging compounds. Those candidate compounds will be validated against an in vitro model of accelerated neural stem cell aging and assessed for their ability alleviate key hallmarks of stem cell aging. Importantly, finding new ways to boost the function of old neural stem cells will likely lead to increased numbers of new-born neurons in the aged brain, which is associated with enhanced cognition and protection against multiple neurodegenerative diseases.      

The DTP was appealing to me due to the wide range of training courses and opportunities for collaboration on offer to students. The cutting edge facilities at KCL combined with the vibrant, close-knit research community of the MRC DTP persuaded me that KCL was the ideal place to undertake a PhD. Furthermore, my PhD is an iCASE programme, involving an industrial placement with our partners at MSD UK, which was a huge driver in my decision to apply.  

For me, the importance placed on the acquisition of skills and the encouragement to complete a wide variety of training has been the best thing about the DTP. There is also a yearly DTP symposium where a diverse array of work is showcased during a fun, well-organised day-long event. 

I did my bachelors and master’s degree at the University of Sheffield. Prior to starting a PhD, I had worked for nearly 2 years as a research assistant in a stem cell laboratory for start up company in Cambridge. Before that, I had completed a 6-month practical project as part of my master’s degree at Sheffield University. I was fortunate enough to get 2-month summer internships at a few research labs during my undergraduate degree. I worked for Envigo in Huntingdon as a lab technician and at Babraham Research Institute in Cambridge in the lab of Dr Nick Ktistakis, supervised mainly by Dr Simon Walker.  


Online poster at Mechanisms of Aging 2020 (Cold Spring Harbour) 

Public engagement

New Scientist Live 2019 at the Excel Centre in London 


Find out more about me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-rock-9b239714b/