Shuli Svetitsky

Shuli Svetitsky

Shuli Svetitsky, a smiling white woman with curly shoulder-length brunette hair, wearing a black top, with one arm over a metal rail, at the Francis Crick Institute.

Shuli Svetitsky, 2021 intake Crick doctoral clinical fellow, James Lee’s lab

I was born in the US and raised in Israel, where I studied medicine at Tel Aviv University. I come from a family of scientists and was always drawn to scientific research; I took part in various lab-based research projects and considered pursuing a PhD during medical school, but the adrenaline of hospital medicine and the rewarding relationships with patients put that plan on hold.

There is a constant sense of scientific curiosity and excitement here, and the collaborative spirit is outstanding.

Since my early days in medicine, I have been interested in the mysterious and often mystifying autoimmune diseases. After residencies in Internal medicine and Nephrology in Tel Aviv, I came to the UK for a clinical fellowship at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College, which is a large renal centre that specializes in autoimmune diseases that affect renal function.

When the pandemic struck, our renal patients were impacted severely and the entire way we practiced medicine changed for a while. As the dust settled and we emerged from the Covid wards, it became clear that the rapid response to the pandemic was due to innovative scientific research. This strengthened my interest in understanding the regulation and dysregulation of the immune system in different disease states. I am now pursuing a PhD in immunology at the Lee lab, specifically studying the production of type 1 interferons, a cytokine family that plays a central role in both viral infection and in autoimmunity.

I am so happy to have rediscovered my love of science at the Crick. There is a constant sense of scientific curiosity and excitement here, and the collaborative spirit is outstanding. At the Crick there are many people who are willing to support your learning and are actively interested in your research, including scientists in the STPs and the student team. Senior PIs from different groups are available to speak to you and share their knowledge and experience.

I hope to use my time at the Crick to grow my skills and confidence as a researcher and become well equipped to continue on the path of becoming a clinician scientist. I miss clinical medicine, but also know that at the Crick I have the opportunity to make significant, translatable discoveries that could transform patient care.