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Danielle Hewitt

BSc (Hons), MSc

Research Assistant

Investigating central pain mechanisms in endometriosis


Endometriosis is associated with pain that significantly affects the quality of life of women who suffer the condition. Despite this, the mechanisms underlying such pain are not wholly understood. As a Research Assistant, I work with Dr Katy Vincent on a project that aims to elucidate the mechanisms underlying endometriosis-associated pain. I am primarily responsible for patient recruitment and data collection, including fMRI, tissue and questionnaire data. It is hoped that the study will lead to the development of novel therapies which target the pain experience, as well as better strategies for recruiting appropriate patients in clinical trials in the future.

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I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology. During my undergraduate study, I developed an interest in neuroscience and the use of brain imaging to study clinical conditions.

This interest led me to study for a Master of Science degree in Neuroimaging for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Manchester. During the course, I gained theoretical knowledge and practical experience of a range of functional imaging methods, in both the acquisition and analysis of neural data. In addition, I completed a research project supervised by Professor Rebecca Elliott to investigate the effect of cues on attentional bias in heroin addiction, which cemented my ambition to work in a research environment.

Whilst working as a Research Support Assistant at the University of Manchester, I gained experience of working in pain research. In the role, I assisted on a PhD project investigating neural mechanisms and cognitive factors underlying the experience of chronic pain. During the post, I gained extensive knowledge of EEG and fMRI literature on the perception of pain.

After completing my studies, I was appointed as a Research Assistant at the University of Oxford, working with Dr Katy Vincent. In my position, I aid with the day-to-day running of a study investigating central pain mechanisms in endometriosis. Following this position, I hope to continue my academic career by undertaking a PhD in the field of clinical neuroscience.