Seven Questions with Claudia Cannavo

This week we catch up with Neuroscience PhD student Claudia, who shares with us her favourite musical in London, experience meeting fellow Neurology scientists in Paris and top spot in the city for finding inspiration to write.

What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future? 

I am currently doing a PhD in Neuroscience researching Alzheimer’s disease. Besides my motivation to contribute to a cure, I have always been fascinated by neurodegeneration and I find it challenging and inspiring to work in a field I can hope to bring innovation to. In the future, I would like to do a Postdoc, possibly in the US. 

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL? 

I was in the organising team of an exchange between the UCL Institute of Neurology (IoN) and the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière (ICM) in Paris. This entailed 15 students from ICM coming to the IoN for a three-day seminar with talks and workshops, with IoN students later doing the same in Paris a year later. It was an entirely student-led initiative that allowed us to meet our fellow scientists in Paris, to present our work in a friendly environment and to learn more about the research and techniques developed in ICM. 

Have you discovered any hidden gem during your time at UCL? 

Yes actually: Queen Square, which is where I work! Not many people are aware of it, but it’s actually very lovely, with a small quiet library, a veggie cafe, and a grassy area in the middle - perfect for having lunch outdoors in the summer. 

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London: 

Wicked, the musical - and actually as many theatre shows you can afford or have time for; also, Hampshire Lido, for swimming on a hot summer’s day, and East Dulwich, an artsy neighbourhood in South London. I didn’t include the more touristy spots in my list because while I love the city centre, it tends to be a bit too crowded! 

If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do? 

I would suggest bi-annual counselling sessions for all PhD students and staff. A lot of people struggle to find the right place to get help if they need it. 

Who inspires you and why? 

This may sound a bit cheesy, but I would say that my greatest inspirations are my two supervisors and my work colleagues. They are smart, passionate, hard-working, and also very honest and respectful of others. Working with them inspires me every day to be a better scientist and a better person, and I believe I’m very lucky to be spending time with them. 

What would it surprise people to know about you? 

I love creative writing and I write at any time and any place that I feel like it - the tube is one of my favourite spots!