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Layal Liverpool, a 3rd year Infection, Immunology & Translational Medicine DPhil student at St Edmund Hall, has been awarded a prestigious British Science Association (BSA) media fellowship, funded by the Society for Applied Microbiology.

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Layal in the lab

Layal’s DPhil research, based in the lab of Prof. Jan Rehwinkel at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, focuses on investigating how invading viruses are detected by the body’s immune system. Talking about her research interests, Layal said “I am fascinated by viruses because they are relatively simple and yet are capable of causing such complex and devastating diseases.”

Alongside her DPhil studies, Layal is also a passionate science communicator and is frequently involved in public engagement activities. In 2016, her short talks on HIV and flu landed her in the regional final of the science communication competition Fame Lab UK. In Layal’s own words “I believe that engaging the public with the research that we do is an important part of our job as scientists. The media provides a powerful public engagement tool because it enables a large and diverse audience to be reached.”

The BSA media fellowship funds scientists to spend 2-6 weeks working at a well-known media outlet during the summer of 2018. BSA Media Fellows are mentored by professional journalists and learn how the media operates and reports on science, how to communicate with the media and to engage the wider public with science through the media.

Following their media placement, Fellows attend the British Science Festival in September, where they have the opportunity to gain valuable experience working in the BSA Press Centre alongside a range of media organisations from all over the UK.

In response to being awarded the fellowship, Layal said “I am absolutely delighted and extremely grateful for this fantastic opportunity!"