Latest: New paper on emerging infectious diseases in Mammal Review

We systematically review the literature on land use change and zoonotic diseases, highlighting the most prominent mammalian reservoirs and pathogens, and identifying avenues for future research. Find out more!

White & Razgour 2020, Mammal Review doi: 10.1111/mam.12201

Rebekah holds a sea lion vertebrae bone standing on a rocky beach on an island in the sun. A big sea lion sleeps behind.

Rebekah J. White

Hello, welcome! I am a biological sciences PhD candidate in the UK. I am currently studying the evolution & genetics of ageing and late-life disease using nematode worms. I also love nature, science communication, palaeontology, disease dynamics, Charles Darwin, cancer biology, tropical ecology, natural history... basically all biology and evolution topics!

"When life gives you fungus, make penicillin."

Photo: On San Cristobel, Galapagos during field work. I'm holding a sea lion vertebrae while one sleeps behind me.

What am I working on right now?

I am looking for the genes that are associated with age-linked disease and lifespan in elderly Pristionchus nematodes (little worms). Many late-life diseases is inherited, but scientists are not always sure why.

The process of natural selection should remove bad traits, so why does any genetic disease get passed down? Finding the genes that cause these will help us find out why almost all living things become ill as they get older, and what controls an individual's natural lifespan. For more details on this, check out my Research.



Check out my interview for Martina Bodner's SciComm for Everyone: Women in STEM blog series! I talk about social media, my research, and advice to young people thinking of pursing a career in science.

Scientists and the pandemic

Firstly - I am still able to answer emails, and will be presenting at virtual conferences instead of in person. As we started making the transition into working from home, myself and other scientists spoke with HelloBio about the current impacts of the pandemic on life science research.

"I put my stock nematodes into storage, dropped my experimental crosses into the biological waste bins, and sprayed down my bench for the last time in a while. Yes, I did apologise to the nematodes as the petri dishes fell from my hands, and I do feel sad that I cannot see this experiment through right now…. However, I have been growing increasingly worried about higher-risk friends and family, so while I am sure it was a tough decision for many, closing is for the best.” Read the full article here!

Do you have a life sciences PhD, but don't work in academia?

Do you love your job? We want to hear from you! At University of Exeter Postgraduate Life Science Society, we are looking for speakers for our upcoming virtual seminar series, Life After Your PhD. This aims to enlighten PhD researchers at Exeter about alternative careers outside of academia. Please get in contact if you are interested, or know someone who might be!

BioRoom Seminars

I recently presented my PhD research online to a wonderful group of life scientists from all over the world. Watch my presentation here, or read the blog post by Dr. Chua.

The third series has started. If you would like to present your research or attend, get in touch with @bioroom2 on Twitter. See you there!

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