Early Career Researcher Representatives Committee
UK-ICN are pleased to welcome our newly established early career researcher representatives committee. Arinjay, Isobel and Caitlin begin their post on the 1st April 2023, and will be driving a subset of ECR development activities within the network. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch via UK-ICN@liverpool.ac.uk or the ECR reps directly.
Dr Arinjay Banerjee – ECR Committee Mentor
Prinicpal Investigator, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Organisation (VIDO)
University of Saskatchewan
I am an early career investigator with over 9 years of experience in studying highly pathogenic coronaviruses. I started my independent research career on April 1, 2021, at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization. My laboratory investigates how zoonotic viruses, such as coronaviruses interact with their hosts. Research within my laboratory focuses on three themes, (1) coronavirus-host interactions in wildlife reservoir species, such as bats, (2) coronavirus-host interactions in spillover species, such as humans, and (3) next generation viral vaccine development. We study two highly pathogenic coronaviruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
I am looking forward to speaking at the UK-ICN seminar on April 27 2023. I am very excited about this opportunity to formally become a part of the UK-ICN ECR committee and to contribute to the long-term success of the UK-ICN and the establishment of a global pandemic preparedness.
Dr Isobel Webb – ECR Representative
Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of Bristol
Isobel began working on an avian coronavirus, infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), as an undergraduate placement student at The Pirbright Institute in 2016. This project was carried out in the Bickerton lab and used reverse genetics to generate fluorescent IBV particles. In 2018, she returned to The Pirbright Institute and started her PhD project on the IBV envelope (E) protein. During her PhD, Isobel used reverse genetics to modify the E protein; the resulting viruses were used to investigate the role of the E protein in viral replication and pathogenesis.
Currently, she works as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Bristol in the Davidson lab. Her research focuses on SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics as part of the Genotype to Phenotype National Virology Consortium.
Ms Caitlin Greenland-Bews – ECR Representative
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Caitlin Greenland-Bews is a PhD student at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). She received her integrated-masters degree (MSci) in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 2019. Caitlin joined LSTM and Lancaster University as part of the MRC DTP in 2020 during which she has undertaken an MRes in Global Health as part of the DTP. She has now begun her PhD project in the diagnostics group, supervised by Dr Thomas Edwards and Dr Emily Adams.
Caitlin’s research focusses on the design and development of new diagnostic tests that can be used to support disease surveillance in low-resource settings. So far, her PhD has focussed on the design of a low-cost molecular assay to identify the key SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and she is in the final stages of evaluating the performance of this assay in Kenya and Burkina Faso.
Dr Giulia Gallo – ECR Representative
Postdoctoral Research Associate
The Pirbright Institute
I started working on viral zoonosis during my Master studies in Paris, France, and continued during my doctoral studies. In my project, I compared the innate immunity, transcriptomic and proteomic signatures of pathogenic and non-pathogenic hantaviruses upon infection of cells derived from rodents and human, their natural reservoir and accidental host, respectively. At the end of 2019, I concluded my PhD and kept working on the project as a post-doc for an additional year.
In December 2020, I moved to the UK and joined the Viral Glycoproteins group, supervised by Dr. Dalan Bailey. Here, I work on a BBSRC-funded project to assess the host range of alphacoronaviruses and arenaviruses at the first step of the viral cycle. Through unbiased selection of representatives species within these two viral families, the goal of our studies is to characterize their attachment proteins and interactions with known cellular receptors, to unravel sequence signatures involved in broad or restricted host range, and predict viral potential for spill-over and zoonosis.
Aside from research, I enjoy learning about nature – I am currently focusing on astrobiology and looking after my plants, and I spend most of my free time carrying out creative projects.