Reflections on Research in Progress

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

In my capacity as newly-elected RSTMH President, and long-standing Trustee, I was delighted to be asked to open proceedings at the annual Research in Progress meeting. This is a long-standing and popular meeting for early-career investigators, offering the opportunity to present current 'research in progress' to peers and supervisors.

Manson Christmas Lecture

The Manson Christmas Lecture, established in 1952 to perpetuate the memory of the late Sir Patrick Manson, formed the opening plenary of the meeting; we were honored to welcome DfID Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Charlotte Watts to deliver this year's lecture, entitled ‘Addressing adolescent women’s vulnerability to HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: challenges and opportunities’. This gave us an insight in to this important area, with multiple pathways resulting in intimate partner violence, requiring combined and innovative interventions. The lecture was live streamed and is freely available on our Youtube channel

Early-career investigator presentations

Professor Watt’s lecture was followed by the morning’s speakers, which included Ms Jasmine Schulkind following on the theme of gender based violence; Mr Philip Hefford on bat coronavirus in southern Vietnam and Mr Harrison Banks on health beliefs and podoconiosis.

During lunch, while posters were being judged by the RSTMH journals team and former Trustee Dr John Horton, I met and spoke to delegates, including a number of medical students who were sitting their final exams the following week and had taken precious time out of their revision to present their work at the meeting – such dedication!

The University of Bristol was well represented, with a number of recent Uganda-based projects presented; I recommended that they keep the forthcoming RSTMH travel scholarships deadline (15 January 2016) in mind for subsequent projects.

The afternoon session was chaired by RSTMH Trustee Professor Alison Grant and included a presentation from Mr Tim Lucas on bats and their contribution to coronavirus transmission. We were also given a fascinating insight into the use of a global health archive by Mr Matthew Holmes, the material donated by Ernest Price and now held by Brighton University.

I returned to the chair for the final session of the day; Ms Isha Berry gave a stirling presentation on the relationship between leishmaniasis and global conflict and terror. The use of SMS messaging (mHealth) to support pregnant women in Uganda by Mr Henry Claireaux prompted me to Tweet about our Trustee, Dr John Dusabe, who I know has a special interest in this field.

Prizes

To round off the day - and present prizes - we adjourned to the poster room for snacks and a glass of wine, exchanging ideas for future meetings and for promoting Research in Progress next year. Thanks to Ms Isabel Tavitian-Exley and Mr Philip Hefford for their suggestions.

We were delighted to award the following prizes:

First prize

  • Mr Phil Hefford, (LSHTM) 'Molecular detection of bat coronaviruses across two distinct geographical regions in southern Vietnam'
  • Ms Freya Shearer, (Oxford) 'Improving risk mapping for vector-borne, zoonotic diseases'

Second prize

  • Dr Nathaniel Lee, (LSHTM) 'Building prognostic models for adverse outcomes from a prospective cohort of hospitalised patients with acute leptospirosis infection in the Philippines'
  • Dr Zulma Cucunubá (Imperial) 'Diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease from a health systems perspective: an analysis of coverage and supply side barriers to access in Colombia'

Third prize

  • Ms Isha Berry (LSHTM) 'Leishmaniasis, conflict, and political terror: a spatio-temporal analysis of incidence'
  • Dr Ilsa Haeusler (WWARN) 'Review of the cardiotoxic effects of antimalarial drugs'

Many congratulations to all six prize-winners - and to all the early-career investigators whose research was selected for presentation this year. We are very much looking forward to next year's Research in Progress meeting and will be confirming the date in January. Do follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to get updates on meetings, grants rounds, and new journal content. And why not join RSTMH for discounts on meetings, full access to the journal archive and more? An annual subscription starts at £80, with heavily discounted rates for students and those living and working in LMICs.