This summer, I was lucky enough to spend 6 weeks at the Robert Koch institute under the supervision of Dr Bernhard Ehlers. This research project was arranged by Dr Michael Jarvis of Plymouth University, and funded by the Seale-Hayne Trust. The Seale-Hayne Trust aims to support higher education and research in the field of agriculture, food and rural land use and related disciplines. Mycobacterium bovis (Mb) is considered the primary cause of tuberculosis in cattle, causing significant pathology, and a resulting economic burden on the agriculture industry. In keeping with the aim of the trust, our research project involved investigating types of a Mustelid herpesvirus found in different species of naturally infected badgers, with a projected aim to develop a recombinant disseminating vaccine to target Mb transmission to cattle.
The project was extremely enjoyable, and presented an unrivalled opportunity to learn and develop several practical techniques that otherwise I would not have had the opportunity for, such as PCR (I was even able to assist in some organ harvesting with another member of the research group!). Dr Ehlers’ team is fantastic, and from day 1 I was made to feel very welcome, and received tuition for each of the techniques so that I felt confident carrying them out alone. The facilities are second-to-none, and Berlin of course is also a great city to explore. I would definitely recommend this to anybody who is interested in research; I am now studying medicine, and in the future I hope to further my research interests, for which this experience has been invaluable!
Biomedical Science graduateBelow: Kati, second from left, with colleagues from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin