Graduate Research Prize Winner 2015
I studied history before undertaking my medical degree in London, and then spent several years working in junior doctor posts in Oxford, the Shetlands, London and Australia, before coming back to Oxford to start Infectious Diseases/Microbiology training.
I have always been very enthusiastic about combining clinical medicine with a career in research, and have been fortunate enough to get involved in a range of projects incorporating basic science, clinical studies and epidemiological work in a variety of countries, including resource-limited settings.
In 2008, I spent a year managing the Oxfordshire trial sites for a study of a novel antimicrobial for Clostridium difficile-associated infection; as part of this I was involved in molecular typing studies for C. difficile and in the evolving use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to gain greater insight into the evolution and transmission networks of important infectious bacterial pathogens. Soon after I spent a year in South-East Asia, where the problem of multi-drug resistance in Gram-negative organisms was a daily reality - Isubsequently set up a DPhil project to use WGS technologies to characterise antimicrobial resistance epidemiology (with a particular focus on extended-spectrum beta-lactamases and carbapenemases) in E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and a number of other Enterobacteriaceae.
My current focus is on expanding the work from my DPhil in two ways: firstly, to investigate the transmission epidemiology of important resistance genes and mobile genetic elements across humans, animals and the environment in a national/global context. Secondly to identify drivers of resistance evolution and points for intervention. I am also involved in translational aspects of whole genome sequencing, such as in its use in laboratory diagnostics (for example in species identification and antimicrobial phenotyping), in smaller projects related to the treatment of infections with drug-resistant strains and in aspects of prevention, such as antimicrobial stewardship.
The opportunity to undertake a DPhil in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University has been a fantastic one, and has given me a great foundation from which to continue to pursue a career combining research and clinical medicine.