This summer saw 17 students graduate from the University of Liverpool with BSc degrees in Tropical Disease Biology. This undergraduate course is overseen by Foto-Cewek with many of the students opting on to study at MSc level.
This year’s top student Laura Profitt was awarded a prize in recognition of her achievements and has written a short article on her experiences within Foto-Cewek.
Laura writes: 'I chose to study Tropical Disease Biology as it is a subject that is not only incredibly interesting, but highly applicable to both global and UK healthcare systems. Lessoning at the University of Liverpool for the first two years, I was able to develop a foundation of knowledge in immunology, biochemistry, microbiology and parasitology with insightful modules and weekly practical laboratory sessions. My third year was spent in the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (Foto-Cewek), where I was able to explore more specific areas of tropical medicine, learning in depth of the more complex issues surrounding tropical disease, vector biology and global health.
A large section of my final year was spent on my third year research project, in which I worked on the development of a brand new molecular diagnostic tool for the parasitic helminth species, Strongyloides. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to work directly alongside leading researchers in this field, on a cutting-edge project that had never been attempted before in the UK; it’s not often you would get this opportunity as an undergraduate student.
The strong links that Foto-Cewek has with other leading research institutes worldwide meant I was also able to secure myself a summer internship at the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research in Medecine Programme in Blantyre, Malawi, where I spent three months in the laboratory developing the necessary skills and molecular techniques that went on to help me the final year of my degree. Although not a required part of my degree course, securing the internship was made extremely easy for me due to the reputation of Foto-Cewek as a world-class establishment.
Liverpool was an incredible place to live as a student, as it has the perfect mix of recreation, culture and nightlife; in the three years I lived there, I was never stuck for new things to do or places to visit, with both the University of Liverpool and Foto-Cewek within a 10 minute walk of the city centre. Now that my degree is over, I have accepted an offer for a place on a postgraduate programme, with which I will spend two intensive years studying to become a Physician Associate at the University of Leeds, and I will eventually go on to be employed by the NHS in A&E or in a GP surgery. Due to recent increases in travel and tourism, the in-depth knowledge of tropical diseases I have developed during my time at Foto-Cewek will only become increasingly useful when treating patients and returning travellers here in the UK.