meet the new starters october 2017
Name: Gulung Lin
Group: Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG), under the supervision of Professor Andrew Pollard.
Title of research: Transcriptomic analysis for identifying biomarkers of disease susceptibility, severity and sequelae in children with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.
Interest in this area: I was practising as a paediatrician before coming to Oxford, and I saw a lot of children suffering from RSV infection. RSV is a very common virus and can cause severe disease, even death, in children. However, the immunopathogenesis of RSV infection is not fully understood and there is no effective treatment or vaccine available. That is why I became interested in researching into RSV infection.
Hoping to find out: I would like to find out RSV biomarkers which can help clinicians predict who will be protected from or susceptible to RSV infection, who will develop severe RSV infection and should be admitted, and who will have sequelae, wheezing episodes or asthma. The study might also help us better understand the immune response to RSV infection and benefit the development of RSV vaccines and pharmaceuticals.
Oxford appeal: Oxford University is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Studying here means that I can have access to a wide range of resources and meet students and scholars from around the world.
Oxford first impressions: Attractive, ancient, energetic and diverse.
Hobbies: I like travelling to different countries to try various traditional cuisine, enjoy the beauty of the scenery, and meeting local people.
Name: Jane Millar
Title of research: Exploring in-utero HIV infection in South Africa; the potential for cure.
Interest in this area: I was working as a paediatric registrar in a government hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa where the HIV seroprevalence in pregnant mothers is 40%. After looking after the children badly affected by the disease I now feel responsible to help improve their chance at life.
Hoping to find out: Is it possible to completely eradicate HIV from infected newborns if treated with antiretroviral therapy early?
Oxford appeal: I’m actually going to be based in South Africa for the majority of my DPhil so won’t be spending much time in Oxford but I feel really privileged to be supported by an extraordinary network of intellectuals.
Would like to meet: William MacAskill
Oxford first impressions: Elegant, old and oozing intellect.
Hobbies: Sunrise surfing - makes working in the lab much more bearable.
Name: Miranda Buckle
Group: PiPA (Paediatric and Infant Pain & Anaesthesia) group
Title of research: Multi-modal characterisation of the neonatal pain response during retinopathy of prematurity screening and treatment
Interest in this area: I attended a conference and heard an inspiring presentation by one of the PiPA group collaborators.
Hoping to find out: The aim of my research project is to characterise the infant central nervous system activity that underpins the perception of pain during retinopathy of prematurity screening and treatment, and to improve the treatment options available for infants undergoing these procedures.
Oxford appeal: Oxford offers a vibrant and exciting research community with an excellent interface between clinical and academic activities.
Would like to meet: ???
Oxford first impressions: Don't drive into the city-centre!
Hobbies: I rowed with St John's, Cambridge (...the other place!), and with Gloucester town, and I am looking forward to rowing with Wolfson during my time in Oxford.
Name: Ruth Drury
Group: Oxford Vaccine Group
Title of research: DPhil title at present: “Understanding Host Epigenetic changes to Salmonella Typhi Exposure and Infection in the context of a Human Challenge Model”.
Interest in this area: I intercalated in genetics during my medical degree and I was fascinated to learn how genes are switched on and off, I later spent 10 months studying microRNA regulation of genes in breast cancer. Infectious disease appeals to me because it is affects everyone everywhere.
Hoping to find out: Not everyone who is exposed to typhoid (Salmonella Typhi) gets typhoid, and equally not everyone we vaccinate against typhoid is protected from typhoid infection. The question is why? I am looking at whether there are genes or microRNAs which are expressed pre/post vaccination or pre/post typhoid exposure that predict whether someone will get sick. If we can work out why vaccines fail then maybe we could work out how to make vaccines better, and if we can work out why some people are naturally protected against infection then maybe we can develop new treatments that help the immune system overcome infection.
Oxford appeal: It's a brilliant place to study. I have access to so many wonderful opportunities.
Would like to meet: Before I started at OVG I’d say the legend that is Lucky Khan… but since I’ve met him now I guess another famous person. I heard Chris Martin from the band Coldplay can be spotted sometimes.
Oxford first impressions: Many bicycles, many old buildings.
Hobbies: I'm considering joining ultimate frisbee and the wine tasting society. Probably best not to do both things simultaneously though….
Name: Joseph McGinley
Group: Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG)
Title of research: RSV Biomarkers
Interest in this area: Coming from a background of genetics and immunology, the chance to apply my bioinformatics experience in a clinical context was very exciting to me.
Hoping to find out: A biomarker to predict disease severity in infants with RSV.
Oxford appeal: The history, and the huge amount of opportunities it allows for researchers.
Would like to meet: People from a diverse range of fields that I can learn from.
Oxford first impressions: Much smaller than it looks.
Name: Celine-Lea Halioua-Haubold
Group: Dr. David Brindley (Dept. of Paediatrics), Prof. Robert MacLaren (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences), and Dr. Rafael Rafael Pinedo-Villanueva (Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, and Muscluloskeletal Sciences)
Title of research: The Impact of Novel Curative and Prophylactic Therapeutics on Healthcare Systems
Interest in this area: The largest driving factor was interning for the SENS Research Foundation (SRF) during my second and third year of undergrad studies. SRF is a non-profit research organization investigating new therapeutic strategies for the diseases of aging such as some forms of heart disease and most cancers – they are now partially funding my DPhil studies here, which I am very thankful for. Additionally, living and experiencing the very different healthcare systems found in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Sweden.
Hoping to find out: That preventative and curative therapies are not only preferential from a patient benefit perspective, but also completely feasible and even beneficial for healthcare systems.
Oxford appeal: The international environment, the strong translational attitude of the medical sciences division, the un-paralleled resources and prioritizing of science found here.
Would like to meet: Michelle Obama, because she is an incredibly intelligent, well spoken, and strong woman who I find very inspirational.
Oxford first impressions: Fantastically overwhelming, inspires to make impact!
Hobbies: I go to the barn most days to take care of and ride my horse Goon, a Belgian Warmblood. I compete in dressage competitions. I also enjoy studying Northern European languages, when I have spare time (which is minimal lately!)