JGV Summer of Prizes: Dr Samantha Ellis

Posted on October 9, 2018   by Microbiology Society

This year, the Journal of General Virology (JGV) has sponsored four poster prizes at conferences and meetings around the world. Over this week, we will be getting to know a little more about the winners and their research. Dr Samantha Ellis was awarded the JGV Prize for Best Poster at the 2018 Focused Meeting on the Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of Avian Viruses in Oxford. Samantha is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Roslin Institute.


What was your winning talk called?

Application of CLIPs epitope mapping to identify immunogenic epitopes on the S1 of Infectious Bronchitis Virus

Who or what inspired you to be a scientist?

My love for science really started at high school, where I found it fun, interesting and I loved learning new things! It was during university where I was really inspired to become a scientist – I loved solving problems and that sense of excitement when an experiment worked!

What are you currently working on and what area of your research excites you the most?

I’m currently involved in developing vaccines against Infectious Bronchitis virus in chickens. The virus can change its major surface protein, spike, causing problems with vaccination. We are using a novel epitope fingerprinting technology to determine the key regions (epitopes) on the spike that are recognised by the antibodies induced after vaccination.

How would you explain your poster to a child under 10?

Viruses make chickens very ill and we need medicines to stop this. Viruses are very sneaky and clever - they can change themselves to hide from medicines! But are there parts that are too important to them to change? I look at shapes that viruses make and find parts that they don’t change and make medicines to stop them.

What would you be doing in your career if you weren’t a scientist?

I would probably be a personal trainer or a professional dog walker!