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NIH-Oxford Scholar

DPhil Candidate (2018-2022)

Mentors: Dr. Robert Hanson (NIDDK), Dr. Anubha Mahajan (Oxford), Professor Mark McCarthy (Oxford)

Lauren Wedekind is a second-year DPhil student in Biomedical Sciences (NIH-OU), supported by the US National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Programme (NIH-OxCam). She conducts research on how parental and fetal genetic variants and parental diabetes status relate to birth weight and risk of type 2 diabetes in offspring. This year, she is beginning a project on epigenetic associations with diabetes and other glycemic and metabolic traits within a cohort study of Indigenous participants native to the Southwestern United States. Committed to deepening understandings of diabetes across diverse populations, she has co-authored articles on gene expression, genetic associations and health outcomes.

Lauren is passionate about leveraging her studies to promote health and academic equity, and has supported multiple community efforts as co-founder, co-organiser and mentor between the US and UK. She co-founded and co-organises Global Diabetes Journal Club, a platform that hosts globally-accessible virtual meetings and publicly shares recent news, scientific articles, and resources regarding diabetes and metabolism. She has also served on the Student Leadership Board of the bicontinental NIH-OxCam Scholars Programme, through which she is co-organising an online book club that focuses on biomedicine, ethics and science communication. Lauren also serves on the Data Collection team of the inaugural Equity in Academia at Oxford event, and as a mentor to multiple students who represent backgrounds minoritised in US/UK-based academia and biomedical sciences.

Motivated by interests in cardiometabolic health, biomedical ethics, and science communication, these learning experiences have deepened Lauren’s commitment to bench-to-bedside medicine that is understandable and accessible to patients. In the future, she plans to work as a clinician-scientist to serve patients, mentor trainees, and inform prevention and treatment strategies for complex cardiometabolic conditions.