Over the last three months I’ve been busy establishing a new COVID-19 laboratory. I’m looking to understand the mechanics underlying SARS-CoV-2 and how it induces COVID-19 disease.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that in particularly severe cases overloads the immune system. The virus can cause an excessive inflammatory response which damages cells and tissues, and this can ultimately lead to respiratory failure and death.
My goal is to identify or develop new effective COVID-19 treatments that are able to reduce this ‘inflammatory storm’ in susceptible individuals, ultimately to save lives.
Outside of the laboratory I’m an avid birdwatcher. I’ve been fascinated by birds since I was a child and observed them all around the world. None of my friends or family were interested but for some reason birds have always captured my attention.
I’m particularly interested in seabirds and enjoy travelling to remote islands. A highlight was visiting the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Islands where I was fortunate to view vast numbers of petrels, terns, albatrosses and penguins.
Birdwatching is the only time in my life when I’m not thinking about my work. It helps me to recharge my batteries and takes me to places I would never normally go to.