Ocular structure

Fiona Cruickshank on working at Aston University as a post-doctoral researcher

Fiona Cruickshank

Tell us about what you do

I work full-time at Aston University as a post-doctoral researcher within the optometry department. The project I’m working on is funded by the College of Optometrists and is a really interesting cross-discipline collaboration with engineering to further elucidate the mechanisms of presbyopia. In my role I am responsible for the day to day running of the programme of research. I enjoy that I am also afforded a variety of other opportunities, which include delivering clinical teaching and assessment, undertaking clinical research, writing research and educational pieces and presenting my findings at conferences.

What is your professional passion? 

I am interested in aspects of ocular structure and function, especially understanding the mechanisms behind myopia development and presbyopia and if and how they can be modified. I am inspired by the impact that my research-field could have on the quality of life of myopic and presbyopia individuals, and I aspire to produce research findings, which could be translated into clinical practice.

What are you most proud of?

I have recently completed my PhD in myopia development and am graduating this summer. It has been a real rollercoaster and represents a great deal of hard toil over the last four years!

What is your next career goal? 

To have my research published. 

How do you manage a work/life balance?  

I’m still very much adjusting to coming out of student-working-random-hours mode, but am getting better at trying to keep home as home. I’m a real nest-maker and have made my new flat very cosy, with no more studying in my kitchen allowed! I also enjoy making little weekend routines and traditions and booking trips and events… Gin tasting coming up next!     

What do you do to unwind? 

I’m a big non-fiction fan, for both TV and reading, but also have watched far too many a box set! I love cooking, cryptic crosswords, murder mysteries and brunching.

You have won the OT lottery: what are the first three things you would do with the £1m jackpot? 

Pop a bottle of bubbly, buy my first car and book an adventure holiday to Australia and New Zealand.

Have you booked your next holiday? 

Yes, I’m shortly going on my first ever trip to America to present my research at The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) conference, which is in Baltimore this year. My sister is flying out to meet me in New York afterwards where we’re spending five nights… We have lots to fit in; I’m off to pack.