CINCINNATI — Climbing the ranks in the research field isn’t easy.

Doing it with a physical disability is even more difficult. But Christina Wicker is doing just that at the University of Cincinnati. 

What You Need To Know

  • Christina Wicker is a post-doctorate researcher at the University of Cincinnati

  • Wicker also battles chronic pain daily because of her disabilities including Klippel-Feil syndrome

  • Wicker said long days in the lab can be harsh on her body

  • She hopes sharing her story will allow others with disabilities to pursue their passion no matter the barriers

​​A day in the life of Christina Wicker is no walk in the park mostly due to her disabilities and chronic pain.

But also because she’s been told she shouldn’t be doing the job she loves.

“I’ve been told repeatedly because of my medical issues, I should go find something else to do," said Wicker, a post-doctorate fellow at UC.

Wicker spends hours a day in a lab setting, something that isn’t easy for her.

“When I come home on days where I’ve done a lot, I’m on the couch. I can barely move," she said.

Wicker has Klippel-Feil syndrome, as well as several other physical disabilities that cause her chronic pain.

“Moderate to severe pain, I’ve had to deal with every minute of every day for close to 30 years now," she said.

Wicker, who most recently uncovered a new treatment for head and neck cancer, has long days in the lab. 

But because of Wicker’s everyday struggles, she has to do a lot just to get in the lab. 

She takes up to 20 medications a day, does mobility stretches, and tries to stay up and moving just so that she can succeed at her job.

“I’ve been able to keep going and succeeded so I’m just going to keep going for that and trying to prove them wrong," Wicker said.

Wicker said while she didn’t have many disabled people in the field to look up to, she hopes her journey will inspire someone to continue to work towards their goals, no matter their physical abilities.

“If I can make things better for somebody coming behind me, a more junior scientist, it’ll be worth it,” she said.