Alexis Robert

Project: Modelling social clustering of susceptibles and its impact on measles elimination.

What were you doing before you joined the MRC DTP scheme?

I was a research assistant at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I worked on identifying the determinants of transmission of Ebola Virus Disease during the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak.

 

Why did you choose your primary institution (LSHTM or SGUL)?

I work on the mathematical modelling of measles outbreaks, and the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at LSHTM has a renowned expertise and an international reputation on this topic.

 

What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with?

The working environment at LSHTM is ideal. I share my office with other PhD students who work on a wide range of topics related to infectious disease dynamics, this is a very fruitful environment for collaborations. Furthermore, discussing the PhD project with my supervisors could not be easier.

 

What do you value most about the MRC DTP studentship?

The MRC cohort is a very valuable asset of doing a PhD with MRC-DTP. It makes it very easy to potentially build collaborations between projects, or organise social events, or set up public engagement sessions to present our work to a different audience. PhD can be an isolating experience, therefore being part of a cohort is greatly helpful.

 

What additional training have you attended with MRC DTP money?

Using the MRC DTP money, I have attended several trainings:

  • A workshop on Virus Evolution and Molecular Epidemiology (VEME 2018).
  • A workshop on Health Economics in York.
  • 3 Master’s modules at LSHTM (Population Dynamics, Spatial Epidemiology and Sociological Approaches to Health).

Additionally, I have attended several conferences and collaborations overseas.

 

Where did you go on your placement? What did you do?

I will go to Utrecht to work with Professor Jacco Wallinga at RIVM in October 2019. I will develop statistical tools to account for under reporting in real time modelling.

 

Do you have any tips for future MRC DTP scholarship applicants?

As soon as you identify a project you are interested in, contact the supervisors to discuss why it matches your background, what you bring to the projects and what are the points where you will need training. Do not drop on a potential project because you do not already fully know the topic: a PhD is a learning experience and training is a direct part of it.