Shortlisted for the WISE Hero Award
27 October 2016
Natalie Shenker, Co-founder & Research Director, Herts Milk Bank CIC
Natalie is the definition of grit. A gifted medic and innovative researcher, she was on her way to being one of the foremost paediatric surgeons in the country when she was struck down by severe illness at the age of 30. She could no longer operate so started a Masters in developmental biology that led to a PhD in breast cancer risk. She published a wealth of original research, had two babies and founded a thriving scientific editing business, before submitting a thesis that led to a job offer from the University of Cambridge. Meanwhile, at Imperial College London, Natalie had started collaborating with a hospital milk bank to understand how breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk in mothers. She recognised that the southern NHS milk banking services were on the point of collapse so she rejected the job offer and started volunteering. In just six months, she established a social enterprise milk bank, raised £100,000 start-up funding and gained ethics approval to establish a biobank of breastmilk samples that will aid not only her former group’s research into breast cancer risk, but support the work of numerous other research groups across the UK. Natalie is helping both mothers and babies enjoy better health by working in preventative medicine, supporting breastfeeding as well as saving money for the NHS.
Natalie's People Like Me types: Entrepreneur, Supporter and Manager