Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
EID logo 2019

Meet our students

Find out about our amazing and talented students on the Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health PhD programme!

HPGH PhD programme members, September 2022
The current HPGH PhD programme students and directors at our annual retreat in Crieff, September 2022.

Our students

We currently have 30 students on the Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health PhD programme, and welcomed our newest cohort of students on 2 October 2023. 

Our students come from all over the world - The Gambia, Malaysia, Italy, Kenya, Spain, Hungary, India, Nigeria, Luxembourg, France, Ireland, Australia, Indonesia, and the UK - and from a variety of scientific backgrounds, including virology, ecosystem health, molecular evolution and immunology, each bringing a rich range of experience and knowledge to the Programme.

All the students who have completed their PhDs have gone on to postdoctoral positions or other professional roles, here in Edinburgh and in Oxford, Inverness, Stanford and Zurich - we are extremely proud of them all.

You can find out a little bit about all our students below.

2023 cohort

Our newest cohort is jsut getting started!

HPGH2023 cohort
L to R: Charlotte Willoughby, Camilla Guzman, Olga Dluzniewska, Emilee Benos and Mackenzie Moore.

2022 cohort

HPGH 2022 students
Our newest recruits - the 2022 cohort: Kevin Kidambasi, Matteo Putra, Oscar Forestier, Olivia Fleming, Praveena RG Chandrasegaran and Jessie Jungels.

Praveena Chandrasegaran

Praveena is from Malaysia.  She studied for a BSc in Molecular and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Adelaide, before coming to Scotland for an MSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Glasgow.  She is now undertaking her first rotation project with Musa Hassan at the Roslin Institute , interrogating early host-Toxoplasma interactions in the intestinal mucosa.

Olivia Fleming

Olivia studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge before coming to Edinburgh to join the Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health PhD programme.  She doing her first rotation project with Amy Pedersen on a ‘lab-to-wild’ model to investigate the impact of experimental perturbation on gut pathology and immunity in wood mice.

Oscar Forestier

Oscar is from France, but is no stranger to Scotland, having carried out his undergraduate studies in Zoology at the University of Aberdeen, before travelling south for an MSc in Evolutionary Genetics here in Edinburgh.  He is now working with Maddie Moule on extrapulmonary tuberculosis: dissecting the genome of the world’s most successful human pathogen

Jessie Jungels

Jessie is from Luxembourg, but has also been a student in the UK for several year, first at the University of Aberdeen where she completed a BSc in Biological Sciences, and then at University College London where she did a Masters in Infection and Immunity.  She is now Using CRISPR-cas9 to study P. falciparum host-parasite interactions in severe malaria with Alex Rowe.

Kevin Kidambasi

Kevin joins the programme from Kenya, where he completed a BSc and MSc in Biochemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture.  He is now working with Darren Obbard on Metagenomic virus discovery in Drosophilidae.

Already I feel Edinburgh is the perfect place for me to enjoy life (by dancing a lot!) and do my PhD. I am looking forward to doing more research (malaria!) and getting involved in public engagement."

Matteo Putra2022 cohort

Matteo Putra

Matteo BSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, before joining the same MSc in Biomedical Sciences as Praveena (it's a small world!), at the University of Glasgow. He is now working with Sarah Reece on circadian rhythms in malaria infection.

2021 cohort

Kate Duggan

Kate is from Ireland.  Before coming to Edinburgh she completed a BSc in Human Genetics at Trinity College Dublin. She has now chosen to do her PhD with Andrew Rambaut, developing new tools for studying viral outbreaks.

Sam Crofts

Sam is Australian, and started his academic career with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, followed by a Masters in Public Health at the same institution.  Sam is now bringing this wide experience to his PhD project on cellular senescence with Tom Little.

HPGH 2021 cohort
The 2021 HPGH cohort at the annual retreat in Crieff: Adam Harding, Ruth Shelton, Simran Kapoor, Kate Duggan, Sam Crofts and Ifeanyi Omah

Adam Harding

Adam came to Edinburgh with a background in Neuroscience from the University of Sussex and then a Masters in Virology at Imperial College London.   He is now starting his main PhD project with Phil Spence, studying the impact of host immune response on malaria pathogenesis.

Simran Kapoor

Coming originally from India, Simran is an Edinburgh graduate, completing a BSc in Immunology. Simran has taken on a multidisciplinary project working with Amy Pedersen in the School of Biological Sciences, and Rebecca Gentek in the Centre for Inflammation Research, investigating immune cell development in lab and wild mice.

Ifeanyi Omah

Ifeanyi joined the HPGH programme having been a Mastercard Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, completing an MSc in Global Health Policy. This followed his BSc in Parasitology and Entomology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria.  Like Kate, Ifeanyi is also working on his PhD with Andrew Rambaut to understand the origins, evolution and transmission of viral disease.

Ruth Shelton

Ruth has a background in Biological Sciences and Tropical Diseases through her BSc at Durham University and her Masters degree in the Liverpool School go Tropical Medicine.  Although neither of her rotation projects were in the Matthews labs, she has now started a project with Keith Matthews to investigate quorum sensing in trypanosomes.

 2020 cohort

2020 HPGH cohort September 2022
The 2020 cohort L to R: Brian Omondi, Rivka Lim, Phoebe Thronhill, Roo Cave, and Federico de Angelis

Roo Cave

Roo has degrees in Maths and Archaelogy, from the University of Liverpool and brings a unique pespective to her studies.  She is now starting her PhD with Helen Stagg and Maddie Moule asessing and optimising the ‘forgiveness’ of tuberculosis drugs for non-adherence to treatment.

Federico de Angelis

Federico is Italian, and did his undergraduate degree at the Univerisyt of Manchester in Miucrobiology.  He is working with Paul Digard at the Roslin Institute on Coronaviridae’s ‘Utility Belt’, analysing the accessory proteome of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.

The best aspect of this programme for me is the breadth of scientific topics and techniques that we had the chance to be exposed to during the rotation year. It was such a great way to find our true interests and tailor our future PhD projects accordingly!

Federico de Angelis2020 cohort

Rivka Lim

Rivka did her undergraduate degree in Biology at Kingston University, before coming to Edinburgh to do an MSc in Biomedical Sciences.  She is now working  with Amy Pedersen on a project that aims to  provide the scientific evidence and tools for reaching 2021-2030 NTD Roadmap goal of eliminating schistosomiasis as a public health problem in Africa. 

Brian Omondi

Brian Omondi joined programme after successfully completing an MSc in Biochemistry from Egerton Univeristy in Kenya. 

He is now starting his PhD with Alex Rowe and Paul Sharp to study the conservation, function and vaccine potential of DBLepsilon and DBLzeta domains of Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1).

Brian Omondi on Arthur's Seat
Brian, with a stunning view from the top of Arthur's Seat looking out west across the Meadows and south to the Pentland Hills.

Phoebe Thornhill

Phoebe moved to Edinburgh after completing her undergraduate degree at Oxford University in Biological Sciences. 

Her PhD is with Pedro Vale in the Ashworth labs, studying host heterogeneity in disease transmission, gaining insights from genetic variation, immune mutations, and experimental evolution in Drosophila.

“I especially loved the rotation projects during the first year.  I got just the perfect balance between hands on Bioinformatics training and an excellent wet lab experience. I could not have wished for a better way to prepare for my main project.

Brian Omondi2020 cohort

 2019 cohort

Lucy Binsted

Lucy  studied Biological Sciences at the Univeristy of Cambridge before coming to Edinburgh, and is now working with Luke McNally to ask if host age affects the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance?

Nila Johnson

Nila did her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of leeds, and now is working with Nisha Philip in the Ashworth Labs on a project investigating the role of ubiquitin in transmission stage Plasmodium.

HPGH 2019 cohort September 2022
The 2019 cohort: Lucy Binsted, Nila Johnson, Enock Mararo and Emma Pujol-Hodge.

Enock Mararo

Enock comes to us from Kenya, having completed an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and an MSc in Infection Biology at the University of Glasgow. 

Enock is now doing his PhD with Liam Morrison at the Roslin Institute, comparing the metabolomics of Trypanosoma species and how this impacts host macrophage function and immune responses.

I’ve really enjoyed my time on the programme so far, not only do I enjoy my research, but I’ve had the chance to attend multiple international conferences and develop my skills in areas I’d never worked on before. Edinburgh is also a fantastic city to live in, and the social side of Ashworth is great fun! 

Emma Pujol-Hodge2019 cohort

Emma Pujol Hodge

Emma moved to Edinburgh after completing her BSc(Hons) in Biomedical Sciences at University College London, and an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

For her PhD, Emma is working with Andrew Leigh Brown using viral phylodynamics and epidemiology to characterise HIV-1 transmission in different epidemic settings, including East Africa, Central Asia, and Glasgow, UK. ​​​​​​

2018 cohort

The new students joining the HPGH programme in October 2018
The 2018 cohort of students (L to R): Guy Oldrieve, Molly Carlier, Audrey Ryback, Catherine Sutherland, Rowan Bancroft and Sanjana Ravindran.

Rowan Bancroft

Rowan is from Birmingham.  She came to Edinburgh after spending a year at the MRC in The Gambia  following her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Manchester. 

She is now working  on her PhD with Amy Pedersen investigating the impacts of nutrition on gastrointestinal helminth infection and immunity in a wild mouse model.

Molly Carlier

Molly is Scottish, coming from Aberdeenshire.  She studied for a BSc in Pharmacology at the Unviersity of Aberdeen before coming down to join us in Edinburgh.  For her PhD she is characterisating of a host receptor for Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocyte rosette formation, working with Alex Rowe.

The first year Msc was tough but incredibly valuable as I learned new lab skills and gained a wider range of knowledge of infectious diseases and research as a whole which gave me a great foundation going into the PhD.

The research groups here in Ashworth and at Roslin are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and Edinburgh is a great city to live in!

Molly Carlier2018 cohort

Guy Oldrieve

Guy is from Cardiff, where he attended Cardiff University to study for an integrated Masters degree in Biological Sciences, which included a year-long industrial placement.  He is now finishing his PhD with Keith Matthews characterising the regulators of trypanosome development and virulence in selected and natural parasite isolates.

2018 HPGH cohort at MSF 2019
Group outing to the Midlothian Science Festival in October 2019. L to R: Guy, Rowan, Audrey, Catherine, Molly, Sanjana.

Sanjana Ravindran

Sanjana is from India, where she carried out her undergraduate training in Biotechnology at the Vellore Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu.  Before coming to Edinburgh she joined the Erasmus Mundus International Masters Programme in Innovative Medicine at the Universities of Uppsala and Groningen.  She has taken an evolutionary biology approach to her PhD and is working with Dan Nussey to understand the drivers of asynchronous senescence in natural populations.

Audrey Ryback

Audrey is from The Netherlands and studied for a BSc in Immunology and Infection at University College London before coming to Edinburgh.  She is working with Graeme Cowan to investigate adaptive immune function in ME/CFS patients.

Catherine Sutherland

Catherine is another Scot, originally from Glasgow.  She went to Durham University where she gained a BSc in Biological Sciences, and to the University of Oxford from where she obtained an MSc in Integrated Immunology. She has also chosen to work with Graeme Cowan, taking a very different approach from Audrey to study how the B cell receptor repertoire alters in autoimmunity.

2017 cohort

A couple of our students from the 2017 cohort have now completed their PhD - Alex Morgan has moved on to a postdoc position at the ETH in Zurich, and Kyriaki Neophytou is continuing her work with Amy Buck as a postdoc here in Edinbrugh.

Oumie Kuyateh

Oumie is originally from The Gambia.  Before coming to Edinburgh she did a BSc in Biochemistry at University College London.

She is now working on her PhD project with Darren Obbard in the Ashworth Laboratories on in-host viral evolution in flies.  She will soon be finishing her tiem here, and moving to a postdoctoral position at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge.

During my rotation year I had an incredible time doing research on different topics related to host, pathogens & global health, and have met many amazing people!

I am currently starting my Ph.D. with Dr. Amy Buck, and looking forward to developing my skills further through applied science and becoming a well-rounded researcher, all in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

Kyriaki Neophytou2017 HPGH student

Alex Morgan

Alex carried out his undergraduate training in Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick, and then postgraduate training with Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He worked in Mark Woolhouse's lab for his PhD, working on the dynamics of antimicrobial resistance transmission at the livestock/human interface.  He has recently completed his PhD and moved to a postdoc position at the ETH in Zurich, using mathematical models to understand infectious disease dynamics

Kyriaki Neophytou

Kyriaki is originally from Cyprus.  She originally joined the School of Biological Sciences in Edinburgh as an undergraduate studying Molecular Genetics.

She is has now finished her PhD with Amy Buck, studying the function of an extracellular Argonaute protein secreted from the rodent-infective gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomoides bakeri.  She is continuing to work with Amy on the project as a postdoc.

WT PhD students at science festival
Students from the three Wellcome Trust PhD programmes at the Midlothian Science Festival in October 2018. Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health students are in red! L to R: Oumie Kuyateh, Hanne Stawarz, Alex Morgan, Kyriaki Neophytou.

Alíz Owolabi

Alíz is Hungarian/Nigerian.  She also started at the University of Edinburgh as an undergraduate, studying Immunology.

For her PhD she is working with Sarah Reece in the Ashworth Laboratories to understand the evolutionary and ecological drivers of synchrony between malaria parasites.

Hanne Stawarz

Hanne is from London.  Before coming to Edinburgh she obtained an MSc in Biochemistry from University College London.

She is doing her PhD with Ross Fitzgerald at the Roslin Institute on bacterial pathogenesis.

HPGH 2017 cohort
Alíz, Kyriaki, Oumie, Alex and Hanne (in absentia).

 2016 cohort

Our first cohort on the Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health programme started in 2016, and they have now all graduated. 

Three students – James Iremonger, Áine O'Toole and Frank Venter – have continued into postdoctoral positions in Edinburgh.

Florian Bach is now a postdoc at Stanford University Medical School, Flo McLean is a postdoc at the University of Oxford, and Tasha Smith is working as a veterinary inspector based in Inverness.

Florian Bach

Florian is from Germany and did his undergraduate degree in Virology at the University of Glasgow.

He worked with Phil Spence on is PhD project, investigating the immune responses of initially naive human hosts to repeated infection with blood-stage Plasmodium vivax.  He completed his PhD in summer 2021 and is now a postdoc with Prasanna Jagannathan at Stanford Medical School.

James Iremonger

James originally began as a historian before switching fields to study Microbiology at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.

For hisPhD James investigated mitochondrial metabolism in livestock Trypanosomes with Liam Morrison at the Roslin Institute and Achim Schnaufer in the Ashworth Laboratories.  He is now part of the Advanced Imaging Resource in the Institute for Genetics and Cancer at the University of Edinburgh.  

I'm really enjoying HPGH! 

During the rotation year, I learned so many varied skills, gained appreciation for fields distinct to my own and met really lovely and helpful people. I am very much enjoying being in Rambaut Lab and am learning everyday. 

And with this programme, there is ample opportunity to travel, even though my PhD is fully computational. I've already had the opportunity to attend an international conference in Japan and am teaching on a course in Ghana this winter. 

I am loving my time in Ashworth and the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and a wonderful place to live.  It's the perfect environment to carry out a PhD!

Áine O'Toole2016 HPGH student

Flo McLean

Flo originally qualified as a medical doctor at the University of Oxford, and has now moved into basic science.

She completed her PhD with Alex Rowe in the summer of 2021, to understand the conserved epitopes in rosetting PfEMP1 variants to help inform therapeutic targets for treatment of severe malaria.  Flo has now started a postdoctoral position in the Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics.

2016 HPGH cohort graduation
The 2016 HPGH students graduating with their most deserved MSc by Research in Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health at the McEwan Hall in November 2017. L to R: Frank, James, Flo B, Áine, Flo M and Tasha.

Áine O'Toole

Áine is from Dublin where she studied at Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, before carrying out a Masters in Molecular Evolution, also at Trinity.

She carried out her PhD with Andrew Rambaut in the Ashworth Laboratories investigating the exploitation of nanopore sequencing technology for real time analysis of acute viral outbreaks, such as Ebola virus and SARS-CoV-2.  She is now continuing with Andrew as a postdoc.

Tasha Smith

Tasha is a vet by training.  She carried out her veterinary studies at the University of Glasgow followed by a Masters in One Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

She is did her PhD with Graeme Cowan, decoding adaptive immunity using high-throughput sequencing and characterisation of the immune repertoires produced during parasitic infections.  She is now working as a veterinary inspector in the Highlands of Scotland.

Frank Venter

Frank is from Pretoria, South Africa, and has been a student for a while!  He has two undergraduate degrees in Genetics and Plant Sciences, and two masters degrees in Ecosystem Health, and now Hosts, Pathogens & Global Health. 

For his PhD he is working with Keith Matthews on the impact of mixed species infection on trypanosome virulence and spread.  And lucky for us, he is continuing his work with Keith as a postdoc.