Biomedical Sciences

Marisol Collins (MSc IAH, 2013 Graduation)

Marisol tells us how the Masters has shaped her career and given her international opportunities.

After eight years of enjoyable work in UK companion animal practice, I returned to academia to pursue an interest in global health and infectious diseases in 2010. The MSc IAH offered the topics and skills I was looking for within a varied and interesting curriculum, and better still, I could study part-time while continuing locum clinical work.

Marisol

During the final year of the Masters, I accepted a research assistant post on a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded multi-centre project investigating infectious diseases of backyard poultry in Ethiopia. This role involves periods of fieldwork overseas and bits of UK locum vet work in between.

Benefits of online study

The flexibility of the online MSc worked brilliantly during this varied and global period in my career. The work in Ethiopia aligned well with my third year dissertation; I was able to contribute to the overarching research theme with a project surveying the ectoparasites of indigenous village chickens in our remote study regions – a novel study on important yet neglected pathogens. The themes of epidemiology, one health, and zoonotic disease covered on the course continued to shape my research career. I have since embarked upon a BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) studentship, including an MRes in Clinical Infection and Global Health and a PhD researching echinococcosis in the UK, completing the PhD in 2019.

Career impact

The skills and knowledge I gained on the MSc IAH have remained in regular use. After completing the PhD, I undertook postdoctoral projects on tick-borne camel disease in Kenya and electronic data surveillance for companion disease control in the UK. After a short period of work with the National Health Service in England on the Covid-19 response, I now split my time between a position as a part-time lecturer leading on veterinary epidemiology and working in clinical practice in the charity sector.

Studying alongside a diverse cohort of students

Something I greatly value and want to emphasise is just how much I learned from studying alongside an MSc IAH cohort from varied geographical, professional and cultural backgrounds. The opportunity for us to meet ‘offline’ and take part in summer schools in Uganda and Laos PDR were a highlight. Great friendships developed on the course and I’m so proud to see where the successful careers of my friends have taken them.

I credit the MSc IAH with launching my career in global health research, which continues to broaden and develop. I maintain a love for general practice and my goal remains to meld my research interests with ongoing work on the veterinary clinical frontline.