The 250+ postgraduate research students in the Nuffield Department of Medicine come from across the world, with students on-course from 46 nationalities in 2021.
NDM DPhil students study a broad range of topics in basic science and clinical medicine, including behavioural science, bioinformatics and statistics (including modelling and computational biology), cell and molecular biology, clinical epidemiology, drug discovery, genetics and genomics, global health and tropical medicine, immunology, integrative physiology (systems biology), microbiology, protein science and structural biology, and transcription biology.
Below is a selection of profiles of our current students.
David Cruz Walma
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Alex Bullock, Dr Kenneth Yamada
My research focuses on molecular mechanisms of human embryology, growth, and development. Using structural and cell biology techniques, I investigate how E3 ubiquitin ligases control cell movement, growth, proliferation, and differentiation in development and survey their tractability for being therapeutically targeted by small molecule inhibitors. I am a National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Oxford/Cambridge scholar, an EPA Cephalosporin scholar in St. Edmund Hall, and a dental student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. I pursue a career in academic medicine applying the skills I develop in my studies toward treating diseases of the head and neck.
Supervisors: Prof Michael English, Dr David Gathara, Dr Catia Nicodemo
Yingxi previously worked in Myanmar focusing on ethnic health system strengthening and health workforce development, and in China focusing on preterm birth and kangaroo mother care in hospital settings. His research interests also include development assistance for health, global health systems and health financing.
DPhil thesis: Medical doctor interns in low- and middle-income countries: internship experience, career intention and absorption into the public sector.
Supervisors: Dr Caroline Jones, Prof Catherine Molyneux, Prof Catherine Pope
Gloria worked as a Health Adviser for the UK government under the Department for Internal Development (DFID) and then Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). She oversaw the health and nutrition portfolio in Tanzania, focusing on stunting reduction and early childhood development; reproductive and maternal health; global health security and health system strengthening work. Over four years, she gained experience supporting other offices in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Nepal. Before that, she worked as a Medical Doctor and Regional Coordinator for the Neglected Tropical Diseases Control Programme in Tanzania.
DPhil thesis: The role of technologies in shaping communication and decision-making in neonatal units in Kenyan hospitals.
Supervisor: Prof Miles Carroll
My project focuses on vaccine-enhanced disease (VED) in preclinical models and is funded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA - formerly PHE). In 2021, I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Immunology. I am also passionate about science communication.
Supervisors: Prof Paul Klenerman, Dr Carolina Arancibia
My research involves investigating host-microbe interactions in the gastrointestinal tract and their contributions to chronic inflammatory responses. Currently, I am using proteomic and transcriptional approaches to characterise how cytomegalovirus (CMV) may be acting as a driver of immune-mediated disease in the gastrointestinal tract. A predominant part of my project involves the study of “TIGER” cell populations (T cells – Innate-like Gut-Enriched and Resident), which are “commensal-reactive,” meaning that they can become activated by bacterial derivatives without the requirement for conventional processing and presentation on MHC molecules. I am particularly interested by the microbial factors that activate tissue repair, a cell signature which has recently been defined in these cell populations.
HSU HNIN (SANDRA) MON
Supervisors: Prof Christophe Fraser (Oxford Big Data Institute), Dr Thomas Quinn (NIH/NIAID, Johns Hopkins)
Sandra is a US National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge (NIH OxCam) Scholar studying HIV phylodynamics through the Phylogenetics And Networks for Generalised Epidemics in Africa (PANGEA) Consortium. Her DPhil investigates HIV transmission dynamics and viral evolution between couples and through larger sexual networks in Rakai, Uganda.
Given her Myanmar nationality, Sandra’s research interests revolve around infectious disease dynamics, genomic analysis, and health & human rights policy. Prior to her doctorate, she worked in malaria molecular epidemiology, then at the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights where she conducted HIV epidemiologic research for marginalized key populations in Southeast Asia, and collaborated with Physicians for Human Rights on assessments of human rights abuses and attacks on health in conflict. She is currently a Commissioner with the International AIDS Society-Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights.
Supervisors: Prof Mike English, Dr Catia Nicodemo
Desire Habonimana, Burundian national, is a DPhil student in Clinical Medicine. He trained in Burundi, South Africa, and the United Kingdom before joining Oxford University (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0832-5558). His doctoral research will focus on understanding the real-time and projected gap in maternity workforce in Burundi, evaluate the costs of training and employing maternity workforce, and implement a small-scale clinic-based intervention to enable the cost-effectiveness analysis of employing additional maternity workers to close identified workforce gaps. The ultimate study objective is to inform policy to deliver on maternal and newborn health targets by 2030.
Keywords: Burundian, Medical Doctor, MNH professional, Francophone.
Sasi Shanmugam Senga
Supervisors: Prof Yang Shi, Prof Rob Klose
I am a Neurosurgical oncologist with Masters in Neuroscience, Masters in Cancer & Therapeutics, and specialist training in cancer research from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Barts Cancer Institute. I am a UK Commonwealth Scholar and an Oxford Clarendon Scholar and Excellence award/Top Honours award recipient from the Harvard Medical School. I also run a cancer foundation for the underprivileged in two countries in memory of my mother Kalavathi who passed away due to cancer.
Research Focus: My research focus is on exploiting epigenetic vulnerabilities to develop novel therapeutic options for brain cancers & to overcome resistance.
Supervisors: Prof Sarah Gilbert, Assoc Prof Cath Green
Project Title: Improving adenovirus vaccine production
Following graduating from the University of Kent, I worked as an assay scientist at the Clinical BioManufaturing Facility (CBF), University of Oxford. Implementing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) into a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) environment to assess the genetic stability of adenoviral vectors.
As part of my DPhil I am investigating how adenoviral vaccine production can be improved through cell line development to reduce the risk of replication competent adenovirus (RCA) and to improve yield.
Supervisor: Prof Helen McShane
I am undertaking a DPhil investigating the non-specific effects of the BCG vaccine at the Jenner Institute. As part of a programme funded by Cancer Research UK, I am particularly interested in the epigenetic changes induced by BCG leading to the phenomena of ‘trained immunity’, and how this is relevant in the treatment of bladder cancer with intravesical BCG therapy. Prior to this I was training as a medical student at Oxford University. I had just finished my 4th year of training and I will go back to finish my medical training once I have completed my research.
Supervisors: Professor Helen McShane, Dr Elena Stylianou
My main interest is finding a deﬁnitive immune correlate of protection that would be a signiﬁcant tool in developing an effective TB vaccine. My research project will identify the protective characteristics of a promising TB vaccine candidate. The aim is to identify immune correlates of protection in mice with promising vaccination regimens, including recombinant viral vectors, protein/adjuvant combinations, and other antigen delivery systems.
I finished my MD in 2020 from Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia) and just started my DPhil under the supervision of Prof Helen McShane.