Zita was appointed as an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Swansea University and Registrar at the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery in 2014. This post is part of the Welsh Clinical Academic Track (WCAT) scheme and the ideal way for her to combine surgical experience with a PhD and dedicated academic time throughout the rest of her training to enable translational research.
Zita studied medicine at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge and became inspired to commence research during her Master of Arts degree in Pharmacology. She also held teaching positions as a Cambridge University Supervisor for medical undergraduates and an Anatomy Demonstrator at Imperial College London. She continued to undertake research during surgical training in London Deanery and quickly realised this was something she would value throughout her career.
Zita’s role in Swansea, as part of the Reconstructive Surgery and Regenerative Medicine (ReconRegen) research team, was initially supported by the Royal College of Surgeons Research Fellowship, allowing her to investigate a combination of regenerative medicine strategies to tissue engineer cartilage for facial reconstruction. Her supervisor and head of ReconRegen, Professor Iain Whitaker, actively encouraged Zita to apply for the MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship. This award will allow her to build on the work as part of a doctorate degree.
Zita comments “I consider myself to be very fortunate to be working with renowned scientists and clinical-academics in an environment where my supervisors recognise my passion and potential.
Undertaking research whilst maintaining surgical training comes with a unique set of challenges and I have had some fantastic teaching from Dr Yadan Zhang and Dr Ayesha Al-Sabah which have made it all the more possible. I have also had the opportunity to work with high profile female academics at Swansea University in particular, my supervisor and Deputy Head of Swansea University Medical School, Professor Cathy Thornton, as well as Professor Shareen Doak, the Director of the Centre for NanoHealth, who are inspiring role models.”