Mary Vasseghi

Job title/role in FutureNeuro

PhD student

Tell us a little about your background and what led you to a career in FutureNeuro?

I have worked in healthcare in a number of areas and countries for 50 years and as a patient advocate for 17 yrs. The need for research into Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), a genetic disease with serious neurological manifestations, motivated me into doing so with the support of FutureNeuro.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

There is no typical day……….that’s what’s good about what I do. I do not work 9-5 but enjoy flexibility throughout my days and evenings. That allows me intertwine events outside my work into my day- for example- a visit to the dentist this afternoon and a more enjoyable breakfast with friends last week. Normally, 6am wake, breakfast, pilates, shower. 7 am work at computer either at home or on the train. In person/ zoom meetings/ interviews /webinars etc. will be sprinkled to various degrees throughout the week. I try to attend to emails 3-4 times a day, otherwise focus on my work. An hours walk during the day another must – and of course lunch, dinner. I work long hours because I am passionate about this project and have few family commitments. It’s all about staying motivatred, refreshed and keeping balance.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

I am used to “action or doing” from my pre research life and find research slow. The necessary scientific rigour requires time and I can feel impatient every so often.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Seeing the results of patients and healthcare professionals working really closely together with trust and friendship achieving common goals. There is nothing better than this true partnership. A word often lightly used but has real meaning when it is done properly.

Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to pursue your career?

Prof Colin Doherty. Neurologist, Head of the School of Medicine Trinity  College, FutureNeuro Investigator, who took the risk of having me, a patient advocate in the School of Medicine to undertake this project. A brilliant, visionary man who, in addition to his outstanding intellect, listens to, understands and cares deeply for each and every one of his patients. An exceptional gentleman indeed.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in FutureNeuro and/or STEM?

Do it. Listen to your instinct. If it is what you want to do, you will find a way.

What impact do you hope your role in FutureNeuro will have over the next five years?

The success of my project, co-creation of an internationally recognised system of care for patients with TSC in Ireland.

What do you do in your spare time?

What spare time…………

Embroidery, going to the beach, travelling to visit my daughter and family ( all overseas), entertaining friends, learning new things via books, internet, exhibitions…….just looking out the window……everything. Life is short and I want to fill and enjoy and put to good use every minute I am alive. There is no such thing as spare time- I, my project, and my life are all one…………

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