Nikita Harvey is currently working as an NMR Technician within the National Phenome Centre, situated within the Division of Systems Medicine, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction. This involves data acquisition on and maintenance of two 600MHz spectrometers for large-scale metabonomics studies on human biofluids. In addition, Nikita is partially responsible for bookings, safety and troubleshooting for the divisional NMR lab, comprising three 600 MHz spectrometers and two 400 MHz spectrometers.
Nikita is also studying for a PhD in Clinical Medicine funded by the National Phenome Centre, optimising diffusion-ordered NMR spectroscopy (DOSY) methods for incorporation into the standard NMR metabolic phenotyping approach. So far, she has optimised two DOSY pulse sequences for human urine and blood plasma/serum samples, taking the high water content, sample convection and protein proton envelope into account. Nikita intends to test these parameter sets to discover how the metabolic diffusion profile varies with respect to protein concentration. This work adds an extra dimension to the current metabolic phenotyping approach and could be an exciting step forward in the field of precision medicine.
For the previous five years, Nikita has been working as an NMR Research Technician in the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre at both the St Mary's Hospital and South Kensington campuses. This involved maintenance of the 600 MHz Bruker NMR spectrometers, running of the laboratory preparing samples and buffers for analysis, and setting up NMR experiments for clinical studies.
Previously within the department, she was involved in the Bill Gates Foundation funded Breast Milk, Gut Microbiome and Immunity project, preparing biological samples for analysis by NMR and LC-MS. In her previous employment, Nikita worked for Hammersmith Medicines Research Ltd. as a Medical Laboratory Assistant, analysing Phase I/II clinical trial biological samples using various instruments.
During Nikita's education, her studies were focused on the analysis of protein structures. She obtained her BSC Hons from Imperial College London in Biochemistry, during which she worked with Dr Rivka Isaacson on optimisation of buffer conditions for NMR spectroscopy on the alpha subunit of a heterotrimeric G protein. This was followed by an MRes in Structural Biology (Merit) from Birkbeck, University of London. During Nikita's research masters' degree, she worked with Professor Carolyn Moores to study the mechanism of kinesin-13 microtubule depolymerisation using PCR and electron microscopy.
Outside her working hours, Nikita enjoys playing the violin/viola as part of the Imperial College String Ensemble, and reads classic literature, fantasy, and history books.
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