Professor Ruth Itzhaki
I was educated at St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, where I was a junior and senior Foundation Scholar. Afterwards, I studied for a BSc in physics, then worked for an MSc in Biophysics - being awarded one of the only two studentships then available in that subject - and finally proceeded to a PhD in Biophysics - all London University degrees.
I then moved to Cambridge, working in the University Department of Radiotherapeutics. I held a Beit Memorial Fellowship for Medical Research and the Wheldale-Onslow Memorial Fellowship (and Praelectorship) at Newnham College. One paper I published in Cambridge became a "citation classic". My next move was to Manchester where I worked initially in the Paterson Laboratories and subsequently in the Department of Optometry and Neuroscience, UMIST.
My research topics have been diverse: iron-binding in plasma; effects of ionising radiation on natural and synthetic macromolecules; chromatin structure (I was the first to use polylysine and a nuclease to investigate this); effects of irradiation on chromatin; carcinogens and chromatin; viruses and neurological disease. More recently I have been studying Alzheimer's disease, in particular defective DNA repair, aluminium, and in most detail, the role of viruses acting with a genetic factor in dementia. For the virus work (see Research) I won an Investigator award from the Lancet, a Wellcome Trust Innovative award, two Olympus Foundation awards, an Alzheimer's Research Forum award and a Manchester City Council award. Our other research topic, which stems from the Alzheimer's disease work, is on the role of the same genetic factor in determining outcome of infection by pathogens.
I am married; my husband is a scientist, and we have non-identical twin daughters, both scientists. I love music (am an ex-pianist and violinist) - particularly "early" music and that of Bach - followed by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms - reading, travelling (or rather, arriving), and swimming and snorkeling in warm seas.