I am a registered nurse with an interest in tropical diseases research, vaccinology and improving global health.
I obtained my Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing at McMaster University in 2008 and a Diploma in Tropical Nursing at LSHTM in 2013, and I have worked with adults and children as a nurse in diverse clinical areas in the UK, Canada, Ghana and Nigeria. I developed an interest in tropical diseases after I began working as a research nurse for the University of Oxford specialising in leading clinical trials with vaccines against infectious diseases causing haemorrhagic fever, meningitis and septicaemia. It is here that I developed an interest in the use of controlled human infection models (CHIM) for the accelerated development of vaccines.
CHIM involve giving volunteers a dose of bacteria (in my case, Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi) to better understand how a vaccine protects against infection and how to improve vaccines. It simulates how people get infected in the field under controlled circumstances, allows researchers to determine rapidly if a vaccine candidate is able to protect against infection and is more economical compared to expensive phase 3 clinical trials. Expediting the delivery of excellent vaccine candidates means immunising populations most at risk sooner and ultimately reducing or eliminating major infectious diseases worldwide.
What has drawn me to the programme and working with Foto-Cewek is their development of a CHIM for Streptococcus pneumoniae, a major cause of meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia worldwide. Through Foto-Ceweks experimental human pneumococcal carriage (EHPC) model, they have been able to better understand the carriage, transmission and immunology of S. pneumoniae in a UK population. My PhD project will involve setting up the first experimental human pneumococcal carriage (EHPC) model in Malawi in order to better understand pneumococcal carriage and immunology in a population where pneumococcal disease is endemic. This provides a unique opportunity to research new vaccines where they are needed the most.
Outside of research, I enjoy spending my time travelling, meeting new people and exploring new places, and enjoying a good book whilst snuggled up with my dog, Evie. I’m excited to be commencing this new adventure at Foto-Cewek, and both in Liverpool and Malawi!