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First OHPACT PhD student at EMC has started!

My name is Eleanor, it’s my first week in the One Health PACT PhD programme so thought I’d introduce myself!


My name is Eleanor, it’s my first week in the OHPACT PhD programme so thought I’d introduce myself!

I’m English and carried out my bachelor’s in Biomedical Science at Durham University in the UK. In this degree I didn’t get chance to study abroad, so when applying for master’s I thought I’d branch out by applying to the Infection & Immunity master’s programme at Utrecht university. Excitingly I was accepted, but before heading out on my Dutch adventure I first had to gather funds, so took time out to work as a Study Supervisor at a large Contract Research Organisation.

After a year in industry, I returned to academia to carry out my master’s in Utrecht, during the course of which I got the opportunity to do a research project at the Karolinska institutet. I really enjoyed my internship there and, as much as I loved my long cycles in the Netherlands, hiking and camping in Sweden was pretty amazing! I was therefore happy that, following my master’s graduation, I was employed as a research assistant to continue my work. However, I was also on the lookout for interesting PhD projects. I reached out to my previous literature review supervisor, Prof. Jeroen Kortekaas, who introduced me to the OHPACT PhD research programme. The projects sounded right up my street, and I knew that I loved living in the Netherlands, so I applied, and was accepted, into track 18 with Dr. Barry Rockx as my supervisor.

My project will be looking into the neurotropism of arboviruses such as Usutu and West Nile with a view to developing models to identify and prioritise emerging neurotropic viruses. My first few weeks will be spent searching through the literature for models already in use and identifying any gaps in the research, and I will also be busy familiarising myself with the group, the lab and techniques.

It will be strange to stay in one place for 4 years after moving around so much, but I’m looking forward to exploring Rotterdam and really settling into the city. Outside of my PhD I play Australian Football all over Europe and have practiced martial arts since I was young, so I’m looking forward to finding other new clubs and sports to help wind down after a busy day in the lab!