Jessica Starikova

Pathway 0+3.5

Cohort 2021

Pathway Journey

PhD Project Title: The regulation of islet G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signalling by G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs), ?-arrestins (BARRs), and Regulators of G protein signalling (RGS) proteins.


In 2017 I graduated with a 1.1 in BSc Biomedical Science from King’s College London. In my final year, I completed a 3-month project with the Ellison-Hughes lab aiming to characterise the inflammatory response in the murine heart to non-lethal cardiac injury.

I enjoyed studying human physiology and glucose metabolism, and had a keen interest in diabetes research, so I applied for an MRes in Clinical Research at Imperial College London for its Diabetes & Obesity pathway. I joined the Dhillo research group and spent 8-months working on the REPROMET study, where I: (a) investigated the role of IV Kisspeptin infusion on metabolic function in men with type-2 diabetes, and (b) investigated the effects of GLP-1, PYY, or Glucagon infusion on the reproductive axis.

I graduated in late 2019 with a Distinction and subsequently started a role as a Data Manager at UCLH NHS Foundation Trust, where I managed a diverse portfolio of Phase I – III clinical trials in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I re-evaluated my career path after realising I wanted to work in a lab, continue diabetes research, and manage my own projects.

I applied for the 3.5-year MRC-DTP studentship because the project offered by the Persaud lab within the Department of Diabetes strongly resonated with my academic interest in islet biology, GPCR signalling, and beta cell responses to obesity. The MRC-DTP studentship also appealed to me because of the wide range of tailored workshops on offer to nurture my professional development as a scientist, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of various networking and career events.


Short Oral Discussion – European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2022 Conference, Stockholm

Poster Presentation – European Islet Study Group 2023 Conference, Vancouver

Poster Presentation – Diabetes UK 2024 Conference, London