Lydia Costello

Department of Biosciences Durham University Stockton Road Durham DH1 3LE


Professor Stefan Przyborski and Professor Penny Lovat

I graduated from Durham University with a First Class BSc (Hons) degree in Biological Science, which included summer placements at the Faculty of Life Sciences at Manchester University and the Institute of Biophysics in Beijing. I am now undertaking a 4 Year PhD in the laboratory of Professor Stefan Przyborski, in collaboration with Procter and Gamble.

My research interests are focused around the use of three-dimensional technology to explore the intricate molecular processes that underpin the inevitable consequences of skin ageing. I have also attended the North East Postgraduate Conference.

An Investigation into Chronological Ageing and Its Impact on the 

Structure of Human Skin

Skin ageing is a multifactorial, heterogeneous process accelerated by predetermined intrinsic factors and cumulative extrinsic exposure such as ultraviolet radiation and smoking. There are complex interconnected molecular mechanisms that underpin intrinsic and extrinsic ageing, including cellular senescence, oxidation by reactive oxygen species and deposition of advanced glycation end products, which contribute to age-related structural alterations in the skin.

My project aims to utilise established three-dimensional in vitro skin equivalents to investigate the molecular mechanisms that underpin skin ageing, focusing in particular on the effect of cellular senescence and the contribution of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype on ageing skin morphology. I will be also be researching anti-ageing active compounds to determine their therapeutic molecular effect on ageing skin.

My PhD also involves a three month laboratory rotation with Professor Penny Lovat at the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University and a 3 month industrial placement with Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, USA.

Where did I get my PIPs

PIPS Internship Organisation Name

Procter and Gamble


Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

When deciding on your internship, what did you want to experience and what did you hope to gain from that experience?

Prior to the internship, I didn't have any experience of working within a laboratory at an industrial company, I only had academic experience.  I was hoping to understand how scientific research differs between academic and industrial labs and gain experience of working within a global company.  P&G also have access to more tools such as high-throughput WaferGen transcriptomic analysis, which I was hoping to learn the process of.  I was also hoping to gain knowledge on different careers and professional development in industry.

Did you get the experience you were expecting and did you achieve the personal development you had hoped to make?

I had a great experience at Procter and Gamble and I gained a valuable insight in to scientific research in industry.  I had the opportunity to communicate with many different scientists in different groups and learnt about many different techniques.  I also made many contacts and valuable connections during my placement. 

Did you discover anything about yourself or make any achievements that you were not expecting?

Whilst at Procter and Gamble, I was able to gain an insight in to many different aspects of developing new products.  I was working within the R&D Department that identify novel compounds for products, I was able to meet many scientists working in the Beauty Department and Global Biosciences that work with 3D model development and I also had a tour of the Product Development Department that test products such as hair products prior to being released on the market.

Has the internship made you feel differently about potential career options and has it helped to put the skills from research into a broader context?

The internship has definitely opened my eyes to the prospect of working in industry.  I found the skin research conducted at Procter and Gamble really interesting and there are so many resources available for analysis.  Understanding how 3D skin models are important to industry and how they are used was also extremely valuable to put my PhD research in to context.

Additional comments

Overall, it was a great experience and I cannot speak highly enough of my hosts during the visit who made me feel extremely welcome and valued and it also allowed me to gain an insight into different aspects of skin research at P&G.  I will now work towards completing the PIPs report.


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