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Huntington’s disease Research Fellow included in list of Welsh women at forefront of scientific innovation

Dr Emma Yhnell has been included in a list of Welsh women who are at the forefront of scientific innovation.

Dr Yhnell is passionate about public engagement

Emma successfully obtained her PhD in Huntington’s disease research in December 2015.

She has since received competitive research funding and she is currently working on a Health and Care Research Wales fellowship to translate the pre-clinical findings of her PhD into patients who are affected by Huntington’s disease.

She is also a STEM ambassador and member of Speakezee – a searchable database of academic expert speakers.

She said:

“I love the challenge of answering questions which nobody knows the answers to.

“There is no better feeling than finally getting the results of an experiment that you have been working on for two years.

“I also love talking to patients and feeling that I can make a real difference to people’s lives. I get paid to do something I love and I really appreciate that.

“The aim of my research is to find new therapies and interventions to help people who are living with brain diseases such as Huntington’s.

“A hereditary brain condition affecting movement and thinking, Huntington’s disease can leave people feeling isolated, lonely and in need of extra care.

“One of the therapies I’m researching is the use of computer games for improving thinking skills in patients who are affected by Huntington’s disease.

“Although in the past, brain games have been used in other brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, this will be a first for studies in people with Huntington’s disease.

“Based on pre-clinical work and research into other brain diseases we think that computer game brain training has the potential to be beneficial in Huntington’s disease, but we have to test this to be sure.”