Spotlight on: Ciara Judge

On a regular basis, we will be profiling early career researchers working at CMMID. This month we are shining a spotlight Ciara Judge, who tells us about her early interest in science and expanding her comfort zone.
I feel that my interest and curiosity for the field of infectious disease modelling actually grows with each passing day. Quote by Ciara Judge, PhD student LSHTM

Tell us about your current research

I work in CMMID under the supervision of Oliver Brady and the  Dengue Mapping and Modelling group at LSHTM. My work is focused on combining phylodynamic and epidemiological data and concepts to model the effective reproduction number more accurately. While I’m working with simulated outbreak data currently, my end goal is to tailor the model I’m working on to arboviral diseases, in the hope that this combined approach will be able to overcome some of the classical problems of modelling vector borne diseases.

How did you first become interested in infectious disease modelling?

I’ve always been interested in science from a very young age, ever since I visited a science fair in Ireland when I was 5 years old. One of the projects had done research testing the myth that the memory of a goldfish is only 3 seconds long, and they had a fish tank at their stand. I was an animal lover so this really captured my imagination, and helped me to realise that science is universal, and can apply to anything in the world I was interested in. From then on I was hooked!

Describe your career journey so far

I started out with a BSc degree in Genetics from University College Cork in Ireland, where I was awarded a Quercus scholarship. I then went on to complete an MPhil in Computational Biology at the University of Cambridge, before coming here to LSHTM to start my PhD in Infectious Disease Modelling.

What are your goals for the future?

Currently my main goal is to keep progressing in my PhD and get enjoyment out of every day! I feel that my interest and curiosity for the field of infectious disease modelling actually grows with each passing day, which is an exciting way to be. When I finish my PhD I’m not sure where I’d like to go next, but luckily the skills we use in modelling are so universal that I feel my horizons are very broad.

What’s your favourite thing about working at LSHTM?

Definitely the people! My fellow PhD students and other members of CMMID were so welcoming from the moment I entered the school, and I love coming in to Keppel Street to see everyone and be inspired by what they’re all working on. I love how we can have conversations about silly things in our lives or in pop culture, as easily as we can discuss advanced MCMC fitting techniques. The atmosphere at the school is really collaborative and I feel like I have learned so much just by being around other researchers that work here.

Do you have any advice or tips for other early career researchers?

My advice would be that you get as much out of your position as you put in; get involved in the community, attend events, and speak to senior personnel even though it can be intimidating and scary. You can expand your comfort zone by taking little excursions outside it, and what better time to do that than during the early stages of your career?

How can people get in contact with you?


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