LSTM/UoL students take top awards at graduation

News article 27 Jul 2020
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This summer saw four students, Lucy Carr-Knox, Shannon Ward, Marion Head and Megan Foster, who attended taught modules at LSTM, win top prizes as they graduated from the University of Liverpool with BSc. degrees in Tropical Disease Biology.

Lucy Carr-Knox was awarded first place in her graduating class on the BSc. Tropical Disease programme. Lucy said: “Reflecting upon my three years studying Tropical Disease Biology, what stands out for me, is how fascinating this unique course is. I feel honoured to have been lectured by some of the leading scientists in their field, able to explore life changing public health concepts, and completing my dissertation project under Professor Phillips-Howard. LSTM opened the door to a career in an intellectually stimulating yet rewarding field. Exploring the impact of emerging and neglected tropical diseases has been eye-opening, and I often felt inspired to work hard so that I can be successful in my career and ultimately contribute to the community which aims to alleviate the burden of NTDs.”

This year’s prize awarded to the best research project was awarded to Shannon Ward. Shannon, who also came second in her graduating class, said: “I enjoyed so many aspects of the degree from the countless infectious tropical diseases to vectors that carry them, and how the diseases can be detected and controlled. There are so many infectious diseases affecting millions of people in the tropics, that most people in the high resource settings do not even know exist, so the opportunity to learn about these diseases was invaluable. I will carry the things I have learnt with me throughout my career.” For her dissertation project, Shannon investigated the body’s intracellular innate immune response to the Ebola virus using a variety of molecular techniques. She continued: “My passion for studying viruses grew throughout the course and I knew I wanted to do some research on emerging viruses. Working in the lab was the most challenging part of my degree, but it was the place where I was able to grow, both personally and, as a scientist. From being a shy undergraduate to thriving in the lab environment, it was easily the most enjoyable experience of the degree. I could not have received this without the help, support and mentoring throughout.”

Megan Foster, who came third in her graduating class, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three years studying at the University of Liverpool and LSTM, thanks to the engaging content delivered by dedicated staff. The focus on inequalities as contributors to tropical disease through a global health lens, was of interest to me. The influences of poverty and gender play a huge role in the burden of disease, and our response to these in a context of research and aid is critical. As a result, I am very excited to be returning to LSTM in September to study the MSc. in International Public Health (Humanitarian Assistance).

The prize for best intercalating student in a life sciences degree programme at the University of Liverpool was awarded to Marion Head. Marion said: “After three years of studying Medicine in Southampton, I chose to study Tropical Disease Biology as I have always been interested in tropical diseases. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the course; I especially loved the Vector Biology and Viral Disease Mechanisms modules. Everyone at LSTM has been friendly, enthusiastic and welcoming. I will remember with fondness my time at LSTM and will hopefully be back in the future for further study!” Marion had the opportunity to conduct a research project investigating the zoonotic potential of the disease strongyloidiasis.

LSTM wishes Lucy, Shannon, Marion, and Megan all the best for their future careers.

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