An interview with Dr Andrew Bosworth
Dr Andrew Bosworth is currently training to become a Clinical Scientist and is based at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Public Health England and the Bart’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London. He is a member of the Microbiology Society and in this interview, tells us more about his research on the Makona variant of Ebola virus.
Tell us more about your research?
I began my career as a Healthcare Scientist at Porton Down, which was then part of the Health Protection Agency. My first job out of university was in anthrax research. I had the opportunity to move into the laboratory of Professor Roger Hewson, where I had some fantastic experiences that shaped my approach to research and my interest in viral haemorrhagic fevers. I undertook a PhD investigating the Makona variant of Ebola virus, the cause of the large outbreak that had such a significant and lasting impact in West Africa.
Every student hopes that their research will unearth exciting findings, showing they’ve discovered something surprising or unexpected. Unfortunately, in my case I found that the Makona variant was much like other variants of Ebola virus. Much like the other flavours of Ebola virus, the Makona variant wreaks as much havoc in the human cell as it’s sisters.
Why was this research important?
This finding has important ramifications. It provides evidence that all of the important research and studies done on the large outbreak, caused by the Makona variant in West Africa, can be applied to other Ebola virus variants; meaning that the findings from these large studies can have a longer lasting impact, and potentially influence outcomes in future outbreaks caused by other variants of this devastating virus.
My experiences throughout my career have enabled me to develop a significant interest in the clinical impact of viral infection. I am now undertaking my postdoctoral training to become a Clinical Scientist in Virology, based at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Public Health England and the Bart’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London.
Why does microbiology matter?
Research and discoveries in microbiology; however small, can have big impacts on the field and on public health. Microbiology has changed the way medicine is done and will continue to do so for many years to come. Future challenges include climate change, antimicrobial resistance and emerging infections. We will all need expert microbiologists to help investigate and prevent outbreaks of infectious disease.