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Alexandra Wood

BA (Oxon)

MB DPhil Student in Inflammatory and Musculoskeletal Disease

  • Kennedy Trust funded MB DPhil Candidate (2023-present)
  • British Society for Surgery of the Hand Research Fellow (2023-present)
  • St Catherine’s College Sciences Scholar (2023-present)

I studied pre-clinical medicine at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where I was awarded the Edward Gill Prize for excellence in Chemical Pharmacology. In 2021, I was awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme at Imperial College London, researching the genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease, expanding my skills in data science and genetics. 

After graduating with my BA in medical sciences, I continued to study for my clinical degree at St Edmund Hall. While on placements at the Oxford University Clinical School, I discovered my love for surgery, and wanted to combine my previous pharmacology and genetics research with this in an intercalated DPhil.

In 2023, I began my MB DPhil on the OxKEN programme, where my research is generously supported by the Kennedy Trust and the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH). I was also awarded a Sciences Scholarship from St Catherine’s College to further support my research proposal.

My DPhil builds on previous work by the Furniss Group in understanding the genetics and epidemiology of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition which affects approximately 1 in 10 people, where compression of the median nerve in the wrist leads to hand pain, numbness, and weakness. It is commonly treated with decompressive surgery, but up to one in four patients have incomplete recovery following the operation.

My work aims to investigate pharmacological treatments of the condition based on a better understanding of the underlying pathological processes that lead to median nerve compression, with a view towards reducing the need for decompressive surgery.To explore this, I am using both big data approaches in genetics and epidemiology, as well as cell biology approaches with a particular focus on IGF-1 signalling and how it may be altered in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

I am supervised by Prof. Dominic Furniss, Mr Akira Wiberg, and Prof. Tonia Vincent at NDORMs, University of Oxford, and Miss Jenny Lane at Barts Bone and Joint Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

In my spare time, I am a keen rower, and am interested in how carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand conditions affect athletes in the sport.