Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Meet the One Health Models of Disease students

Our students come from around the world and with a wide range of previous experience.

Our fantastic students are from across the world making this is a truly global programme - currently they come from the Gambia, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the USA and the UK. 

They have very varied backgrounds – from biomedical engineering and physics to English literature and law, and everything in between – and bring a huge range of experience to the programme.  You can find out a little bit about them below.

2023 cohort

We are delighted to welcome our newest cohort of students to the programme: 

OHMD students in the Roslin Institute
Daniel Power, Agatha Lestari, Thomas Hill, Ojonugwa Abubakar, Beren Sekerci and Anastasiia Komolova.

 2022 cohort 

Dominic Arthur

Dominic is from the Gambia, and joins the programmes after completing a BSc in Immunology at the University of Edinburgh. 

He is now working with Ross Fitzgerald in the Roslin Institute carrying out project bioinformatic investigation into virulence-associated traits of Legionella pneumophila.

Aria Buenaventura

Aria is from the Philippines, where she completed a BSc in Physics at Ateneo de Manila University, before studying for a MSc in Engineering at Osaka University, Japan. 

She is now working with Christine Tait-Burkard in the Roslin Institute for her first rotation project  to investigate host-pathogen interactions of arteriviruses and coronaviruses.

2022 cohort of OHMD students
Our newest recruits: Gideon Msee, Aria Buenaventura, Jelimo Chepsat, Dominic Arthur, Hamna Jamil, and Cait MacIntosh.

Coming from a physics background, I was worried about pursuing a PhD in a biomedical lab. However, through the rotation projects, I have been given thorough training in the lab and learned so much, from cell culture to gene editing. The programme also ensures proper guidance from mentors or members of the other cohorts as we go through our 4-year PhD, which is quite comforting to know. Edinburgh itself is filled with kind people from all walks of life, so I can still feel at home even if I'm far away from the Philippines.

Aria Buenaventura2022 cohort

Jelimo Chepsat

Jelimo is Kenyan, and previously worked at  the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya.  She has a BSc in Microbiology from Kenyatta University and an MSc in the Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

Jelimo is now working on her first rotation project with Nicki Lynskey at the Roslin Institute, applying a novel 3D model to characterise the role of M-like proteins in driving dairy niche adaptation of streptococcal pathogens.

Hamna Jamil

Hamna is from Pakistan, and originally studied to be a vet.  She then took a more research focus to complete an MPhil inVeterinary Parasitology at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Lahore, and an MSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, before starting her PhD. 

She is currently working on a rotation project with Joe Rainger in the Roslin Institute to investigate the genetic mechanisms in disrupted eye development caused by Vitamin A deficiency.

While working in a research ethics committee, I  felt accused of merely 'policing' research and not understanding what scientists go through in the laboratory or the field. Through this PhD and rotation projects in a biomedical lab, I know what happens in the lab.  And I appreciate the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to our health and the interdependence of humans, animals and the environment.  I am now being exposed to first-hand experience using CRISPR/Cas 9, an efficient and “precise” genome editing technique that has taken the world by storm when Africa is also embracing such technologies.

Gideon Cornel Msee2022 cohort

Cait McIntosh

Cait is South African, and started her career with a BSc in Genetics at the University of Cape Town, before switching focus to complete a MSc in Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Edinburgh. 

She is now working with Debby Bogaert in the Centre for Inflammation Research studying the lower respiratory tract microbiome in COPD patients.

Gideon Cornel Msee

Like Jelimo, Gideon is also from Kenya.  He completed a BSc in Biochemistry & Zoology and an MSc in Medical Biochemistry, both at Kenyatta University, before studying for an MSc in Healthcare Ethics at the University of Leeds.   He then worked at the Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture at the KEMRI Bioethics Training Initiative.

Although is primary interests lie with the ethical impacts of developing and using one health models, Gideon is currently working with Finn Grey at the Roslin Institute for his first rotation project to identify species-specific host-virus interactions through phenotypic screening. 

 2021 cohort 

Andrew Hanton

Andrew is from Forres, near Inverness, and completed a BSc in Medical Sciences and then an MSc in Infectious Diseases at the Univeristy of Edinburgh before joining the One Health Models of Disease programme. 

He is now working with Christine Tait-Burkard at the Roslin Institute, using functional genomics to investigate the host-pathogen interactions of porcine coronaviruses.

Tim Lee

Tim is originally from Singapore.  He studied Biotechnology in a BSc at the University of Toronto and MSc at the University of Melbourne, and was then a research associate at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the National University of Singapore, before joining the One Health Models of Disease programme. 

His PhD project is with Ross Fitzgerald at the Roslin Institute.

The research experience gained from the One Health Models of Disease programme is superb. The Roslin Institute and the Vet School are world-leaders in animal research and provide a world-class training environment with a diverse range of ongoing research. Edinburgh is also a great place to live and study in, with a sizeable student population and plenty to do outside of your studies.

Andrew Hanton2021 cohort

Vesa Qarkaxhija

Vesa is from London (with Kosovan-Albanian heritage) and studied for a BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Portsmouth before completing an MSc in Genetics at the University of Edinburgh.  She then worked for Vaccitech in Oxford as a study manager, before starting her PhD. 

She is working with David Gally at the Roslin Institute.

Dev Sachdev

Dev joined the programme from Thailand.  A law graduate from Thammasat University, Thailand, and the University of Melbourne, Australian, he is now working with Martyn Pickersgill at the Usher Institute investigating the supervisor-supervisee relationships in labs carrying out high-risk studies.

OHMD students kayaking on Loch Tay
Buidling strong links with students in all cohorts is a really important aspect of being a student on the One Health Models of Disease programme.

Hamna Syeda Fatima

Hamna studied biomedical engineering during a BSc at NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan and an MSc at Arizona State University.  She is now starting her PhD with Vicky Macrae at the Roslin Institute.

Swetha Umashankar

Swetha started her career with a BSC in Biomedical Science at Keele University, before continuing to a MSc in Neuroscience at Imperial College London. 

She is pursuing her interest in neuroscience through a PhD project with Tom Wishart at the Roslin Institute, investigating nervous system stability using a gene-edited ovine model of dementia.

2020 cohort

Sara Al Disi

Sara is Palestian, and did her undergraduate training Biology at the Univeristy of Qatar before carrying out an MSc in Cardiovascular Science at the University of Göttingen.

She is currently working on a project with Gillian Gray in the Centre for Cardiovascular Science on a project that seeks to understand if  targeting local steroid regeneration reduce cardiac remodelling and the development of heart failure after myocardial infarction.

Nikos Avradmidis

Nikos is from Greece, where is completed a BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Democritus University of Thrace.  He joined the PhD programme fresh from an MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis at the University, so already knows Edinburgh well. 

He is working with Kenny Baillie at the Roslin Institute to explore the genetic architecture of critically ill Covid-19 patients.

OHMD is a unique program. The inclusion of bioethics and public engagement means I am not only gaining scientific research knowledge, but also a deeper understanding of society and the place of science within it. It also really helps that Edinburgh is such a beautiful city!

Sara Al Disi2020 cohort

Holly Kerr

Holly is from East Kilbride, near Glasgow.  She carried out her undergraduate degree in Genetics at the University of Glasgow. 

Her PhD project with Christine Tait-Burkard at the Roslin Institute investigates the human host factors involved in Coronavirus infection in the search for antivirals.

Sara Marzo

Sara is Italian, and joined the programme after completing an MSc in Pharmacy at the University of Ferrara Italy, and and MSc in Microbiology at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany. 

Her project is with Jayne Hope at the Roslin Institute, developing bovine lung models for assessment host-pathogen interaction.

OHMD students at Firbush October 2022
The whole programme visited the University Firbush outdoors centre on Loch Tay in October 2022.

Emma Nance

Emma is from the USA, and came to Edinburgh as an undergraduate, first completing an MA in English Literature and then an LLM in Medical law and Ethics. 

On the One Health Models of Disease PhD programme, she is working with Sarah Chan in the Centre for Medicine Self and Society and the Usher Institute on a project that takes interdisciplinary One Health approaches to investigate pandemic ethics and Global Health justice.

Emily Watts

Following a degree in Biomedical Science at Bangor Univeristy, Emily started her career as a chemistry teacher before moving into research, first on the Infectious Diseases and One Health International MSc programme, and now on the One Health Models of Disease PhD programme. 

She is working with Mark Stevens for her PhD, analysing molecular mechanisms underlying systemic salmonellosis using One Health models.