With a background in environmental biology and after a number of stints in tiger, bat, and marine conservation research with universities and NGOs like the WWF, I’ve changed scope and species and am now starting a PhD in Medical Science. I intend to investigate a novel strategy that certain pathogens may use to manipulate the immune system. Our lab has recently discovered that a disease-causing virus exploits the signals released by our immune cells, causing other cells to be more permissive to viral infection and weaken the immune system’s anti-viral strategies. My research will investigate the mechanisms this virus uses to take advantage of the immune system, and investigate whether they are used by pathogens such as tuberculosis and influenza. The long-term aim of this research is to identify points in the immune system where we may be able to intervene with therapies to treat and prevent these diseases, and to help identify individuals at higher risk of complications.