No-one ever believes me when I say I’m a Glaswegian. All the country hopping my family has done over the years has left me with a mish-mash of Scottish and Australian sensibilities. Despite this, Glasgow has been my home for 10 years and despite not having the accent, I consider myself a proud Weegee. Glasgow is where I completed my undergraduate University career, discovered my love of viruses and decided a career in research was for me. So when I received an offer from the Perona lab to stay in Glasgow and continue interrogating influenza viruses in my favourite city, I was naturally excited. Though most of my days are taken up by esoteric flu pondering, I love playing the piano, cooking, and swimming in the sea. I’m particularly excited by this PhD project because it will give me the chance to meet people all over the world who share my niche attachment to these tiny, deadly bags of RNA that I’ve come to love.
My undergraduate research project was carried out in Glasgow’s MRC- Centre for Virus Research in the Hutchinson lab. There I discovered the genetically modified, glow-in-the-dark “ColourFlu” viruses. Now I’m in the Glasgow University GBRC and I’m trying to figure out if influenza viruses affect epithelial progenitor cells, and what role that plays in tissue repair. To do that, I’m trying to understand the cytokines which control the differentiation of these progenitor cells and whether they leave traces of previous infection in repaired lung tissue. My PhD project is funded by the BBSRC and AstraZeneca, and most of my experiments will be carried out in vivo.
I believe scientists have a responsibility to communicate their work and help educate the general public (and all our future scientists. I’m a STEM Ambassador and I take every opportunity I can to get involved in Science Communication projects. Some of my favourites have been working at the Glasgow Science Festival and bringing science to schools in underprivileged areas.