series event

World Immunisation Week 2023 research showcase

World Immunisation Week 2023 text

Dr Ed Parker will host a webinar showcasing work on maternal immunisation by ECRs at LSHTM and beyond. Presentations will span the interplay between maternal and infant pertussis immunisation, maternal vaccination acceptance in sub-Saharan Africa, and in vitro models for studying the transfer of antibodies across the placenta. 


​Does maternal pertussis immunisation during pregnancy impact infant antibody responses to subsequent routine pertussis vaccines?  - ​Dr Anja Saso, MRC The Gambia/LSHTM

Recruitment to maternal vaccination studies and experiences of maternal immunisation during COVID - ​Sara Barnett, Imperial

​Maternal vaccine acceptance in sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons learned and ways forward - ​​Penda Johm, MRC The Gambia/LSHTM

​Developing In Vitro Models for Studying Trans-placental Antibody Transfer - ​Alice Hawkins, Imperial


Dr Anja Saso, MRC The Gambia and LSHTM


Sara Barnett, Imperial 

Sara is a research midwife at Imperial College, working at both St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals as the clinical coordinator and recruiter for the COMET study – a study of communication between the immune system and the placenta. Since joining Imperial in 2011 Sara has facilitated varied NIHR portfolio maternal, neonatal and reproductive health studies. A qualified nurse, midwife and adult educator Sara is a NIHR Midwifery Research Champion for North West London supporting midwives, promoting research within the midwifery community and encouraging diversity and inclusion in research. Sara is an academic tutor for Imperial medical students.

Penda Johm, MRC The Gambia and LSHTM 

Dr Penda Johm (PhD) is a social scientist specialized in medical anthropology and based at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene at Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM). Penda recently completed her PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Her PhD research explored women in the Gambia’s acceptance of maternal vaccinations as well as related health system factors. She holds a BSc from Carleton University and an MSc from King’s College London. Penda hopes to continue to make a positive impact via public health research and interventions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Alice Hawkins, Imperial

Alice Hawkins is a 2nd year PhD student in Placental Biology and Immunology based at Imperial College London in the Institute of Reproductive Biology (IRDB). Her project is part of an NIH-funded consortia that studies “maternal immunization and determinants of infant immunity” (MADI). 

After her undergraduate Biochemistry degree, Alice initially joined the pharmaceutical company, UCB, where she worked as a research scientist discovering antibodies to multiple therapeutic antigen targets.

At the end of 2021, Alice started her PhD where her project aims to develop and utilize in vitro models to study the determinants of natural and engineered IgG transfer across the human placenta.


Free and open to all, online. No registration required. A recording of this session will be available after the event on this page.


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