H1 N1 virus

Summer project in Vietnam

Hello! I’m Phil, a student on the MSc Medical Microbiology course. Virology is where my biggest interest lies – it’s a slightly narcissistic view given that about half of our human genetic information actually came from viruses. This amazing fact that hints at a long and complex relationship between humans and viruses throughout the course of evolution was one of the biggest reasons behind my decision to make the switch from my first love in biological sciences (Physiology) to microbiology.

And at LSHTM – I haven’t regretted it.

From the start of the course I was immediately exposed to the best and brightest minds in the field. The principles of molecular biology were not only brought to life through learning about viruses, but also bacteria such as Escherichia coli which still causes outbreaks and parasites such as Trypanosoma brucei which will send you to sleep, permanently, if not treated!

In short, the learning experience at LSHTM to date has been fascinating – in the truest sense of the word. Challenges continue to be met, but it is all part and parcel hoping to tackle very real problems which cause harm to millions of lives across the globe daily. Studying medical microbiology can help identify solutions in the form of drugs and vaccines, which can be implemented through various health initiatives. This is my personal drive.

This summer I will be travelling to Vietnam to work (do my summer project) with Oxford University’s Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Ho Chi Minh City. LSHTM have extensive global links, and OUCRU is just one of them. I will be investigating viruses in bat populations and their potential to cause human infection. Think ‘SARS’, Think ‘Outbreak’, Think ‘Contagion’, Think ‘Summer Project’.

My blog will kick off in Vietnam, and I will update regularly on various aspects of Tropical Medicine, virology, outbreaks and also hope to include some interviews with researchers out there in the tropics.

You can message me on twitter at any point to join the discussions: @philandtropical

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