My Fellowship has provided me with the opportunity to become a postdoctoral researcher.

Tanweer is a Daphne Jackson Fellow at Imperial College London, based in the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology.  Tanweer’s Fellowship is sponsored by Imperial College London and the Genesis Research Trust.

Prior to her ten-year career break, Tanweer was pursuing a highflying career in Reproductive Molecular research, obtaining a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from University of Khartoum, a MPhil and a PhD in Reproductive Molecular Biology both from University of Cambridge. She was awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship for her achievement at University.

Tanweer postponed her research career so she could support and spend more time with her eldest daughter, who was born prematurely and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was three years old.  She then went onto have two more children.

After completing my PhD, I postponed my career plans to support my eldest daughter and look after my family. I was glad to be at home with my children during this time.

During her career break, Tanweer retrained in social behaviour and communication, speech and language skills, sensory integration and applied behaviour analysis to support her daughter.

Once her children were settled at school, Tanweer found she missed the excitement and satisfaction of her former research career. She was also now in a better position to resume her scientific career since all her children were at school and her eldest daughter was progressing well with support. She spotted an advert for the Daphne Jackson Fellowship opportunity at Imperial College London and was delighted to be awarded following the Trust’s in-depth application process and with the support and help of her Fellowship Advisor Carolyn.

A part of me missed the excitement and satisfying experience of academic work, teaching and research.

Tanweer started her three-year Fellowship in November 2018. She plans to study the role of vaginal infection (bacterial/ fungal) during pregnancy, to understand if an infection in the vagina can move up the reproductive tract and infect the foetus/amniotic sac leading to preterm birth. Preterm birth is the largest cause of death of under-fives worldwide.

To be back retraining at a leading institute with an excellent research and teaching reputation, working in a research area I feel really passionate about, and after such a long time away from it, is an incredible opportunity! 

I’m enjoying being back immensely – collaborating with my research group, attending lab meetings and making new contacts. Everyone is very supportive at Imperial College London and working part-time at 0.5FTE helps contribute to a happy work and family life balance.

My ultimate goal is to develop an academic and research career at Imperial College London, to become a member of staff as a research scientist and a teaching fellow in the future.