Sophie Hanina obtained her medical degree from Oxford University and her PhD from Cambridge University in the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research Centre UK. Her PhD thesis was entitled “Identifying direct targets of individual microRNAs in mouse embryonic stem cells” which was funded by an MRC Doctoral Training Award in Professor Azim Surani’s Lab. During her PhD she tried to develop a new technique based on RNA sequencing to identify direct targets of individual microRNAs in mouse embryonic stem cells cells. In addition, her work helped to elucidate the role of a highly conserved microRNA in maintaining pluripotency of stem cells. This work was published in PLoS Genetics 2010.