This year Ms Elysse Hendrick graduated top of her class in the BSc Tropical Disease Biology (TDB) which is taught by several LSTM staff in conjunction with the University of Liverpool. The BSc Director, Dr Gabriela Gomes, warmly congratulated Elysse on her outstanding achievement alongside 16 other students who graduated this year. Elysse has written about her experiences on the BSc programme.
“After initially studying a different degree to TDB for a year, making the change to study TDB with the University of Liverpool and LSTM was a decision I’m incredibly glad to have made. Being a small cohort of students meant we quickly became a close-knit group, and I myself have made many friends for life. Furthermore, the small cohort size resulted in TDB lectures being much more personal than many other courses, with lecturers being easy to contact and extremely approachable.
The unique link of the TDB degree with LSTM gave us the opportunity to undertake an LSTM-based laboratory module in the Dagnall laboratory during our second year, which provided us with a plethora of basic skills required for future TDB-related work. For example, a variety of practicals involving mosquito species identification, the identification of malarial infections in blood smears, mosquitoes and insecticide response and the use of RDTs and ELISAs not only provided us with a wealth of new knowledge, but also helped supplement knowledge obtained from other related modules. This emphasized to us just how integral these skills are in multiple areas.
In our third year, we were based predominantly at the LSTM, with the vast majority of our modules’ lectures taking place there. Whilst having modules such as ‘Parasitology’ and ‘Vector Biology’, which focused on important broad aspects of disease from a biological perspective, we also had the module ‘Topics in Global Health’ which sought to help us examine diseases from a broader perspective, taking into account how numerous social and economic factors play an important part. It was during this year I also undertook a research project with LSTM looking at the ability of nasal probiotics to reduce inflammation in Detroit 562 cells caused by the influenza virus. Initially nervous to undertake such a project, by the end I had not only gained experience in a variety of microbiology- and virus-based techniques, but also in how a clinical trials group operates in a real-life setting.
As a result of enjoying my undergraduate experience so much, I am continuing my studies with the LSTM by undertaking a Masters in Tropical Disease Biology in the coming academic year, and I look forward to furthering my TDB knowledge and becoming further involved with the school. Finally, I would like to thank the LSTM, UoL and my friends and family for making these last three years incredibly enjoyable.