Completion date: PhD (non-clinical) 2003
Dr Ana-Teresa Maia completed her PhD at The Institute of Cancer Research in 2003. She is now the Vice-Director of the Centre for Biomedical Research at the University of Algarve.
Ana-Teresa’s PhD involved studying the genetics of childhood leukaemia. Her work helped to improve our understanding of how the disease initiates.
“I always knew I wanted to study cancer genetics and I was ecstatic to be offered a place in Mel Greaves’ lab at the ICR,” she says. “I was extremely shy at the beginning, but I was very well looked after and the environment was very, very enriching which helped me to grow and develop.”
“I feel very fortunate to have published all of my work from my PhD research, with most marking moment being an oral presentation of my results at the annual conference of the American Society of Hematology in the USA, in my first year of PhD” she adds.
Ana-Teresa also took advantage of the many opportunities available at the ICR, including learning how to clearly communicate her science to diverse audiences and collaborating on a research project in Italy.
“Studying at the ICR opened the doors for whatever I wanted to do next — it gave me more of a direction,” she says.
Following her PhD, Ana-Teresa stayed within academic research taking on postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge. Here, she moved her attention towards studying the genetics of breast cancer susceptibility, which she continues to this day.
At her current position in Portugal, Ana-Teresa now leads her own team of cancer researchers. “I really enjoy taking forward my own research ideas – motivating, encouraging and guiding my team to produce their best work,” she says.
Ana-Teresa looks back at her time working with Professor Mel Greaves with incredibly fond memories and still feels a strong connection to the place she started her career.
“It was the most enlightening and inspiring time for me as a cancer researcher. I still hold Mel as my mentor and consider his opinion in my big career decisions!” she explains. “And I’m also still in touch with many people from his lab.”