Alumni profile: Dr Ellie Jameson, inspiring microbiolgist
Ellie has an amazing background in research which has taken her to some fabulous places and enabled her to work with some great scientists from around the world. Ellie recently featured on BBC Two’s ‘The Secret Science of Sewage’ to explain her work on how to develop bacteriophages to prevent and treat antibacterial-resistant infections, which you can enjoy AT BBC’S THE SECRET SCIENCE OF SEWAGE
Anyone who is interested in microbiology and Science will find Ellie’s feature below fascinating:
What inspired you to follow your career path?
At school, I wanted to study marine biology as I love the oceans and everything in them. After A-levels, in Biology, Geography, Art and General Studies, I started with a degree in Marine Biology at the University of Liverpool. Then I worked as a microbiology technician in a food testing lab and was lucky enough to go to Tanzania to do voluntary work to look at the health of octopus and fisheries. I decided I wanted to continue working in science and found microbiology really exciting, so I did a PhD looking at cyanobacteria and the bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria) that infect them.
From there I have worked in university research labs on a number of different projects. I now run my own research lab where I work with my team to carry out research on bacteriophages. We look at how these bacteriophages interact with bacteria and crops in soil and how bacteriophages might help reduce the amount of chemicals we use to clean up drinking water. However, the main focus of my research is developing bacteriophages to prevent and treat antibacterial-resistant infections in patients. Bacteriophages are not yet a standard medical treatment, but they can be used in compassionate therapies, where every standard treatment has failed. This has led me to supply my phage isolates for compassionate phage therapy to experienced clinicians to treat patients.
What have been/are particular highlights or achievements in your career to date?
I was really honoured to take part in the BBC Horizon documentary “Secret Science of Sewage” and explain my work to a bigger audience. I find science amazing because you get to make discoveries every day. I have been to some really interesting places, during my PhD I spent 1 ½ months on a scientific research ship to collect samples in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean starting in Southampton and ending in Cape Town. I got to see whales, dolphins, turtles and penguins on the trip. Getting to work with scientists from around the world has been great, you can team up with scientists all over the planet, I have worked with other scientists from Australia, Finland, Germany, China and Uganda. I have also been able to use my art skills to promote my science and explain what it means in simple cartoons.