Robert Friedrich Donat
I graduated with a BSc in immunology from the University of Edinburgh in 2017. My interests lie in the interface between the immune system and disease. Currently they are still broad meaning the opportunity to explore with the three IITM rotations is perfect. During my time in Edinburgh I completed projects with Alex Rowe investigating malarial adhesion, Rose Zamoyska investigating CD8 T cell activation and Graeme Cowan developing a high-throughput droplet-based single cell PCR system. My first rotation in the IITM program will be with Simon Draper investigating CyRPA. Outside of work I enjoy gymnastics, hiking and video games.
I graduated from the University of Bristol with my BSc in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, focusing on immunology and structural biology; these are both areas of research I am planning to continue throughout the rotation programme. During my degree I also completed an internship at the Francis Crick, working on GM of Plasmodium chabaudi. Infectious disease is therefore an area I would also like to pursue. Outside the lab I hope to get involved with public engagement, as well as potentially down the line public health/implementation strategies. My first lab rotation is with Prof. Matt Higgins, designing epitopes for a potential malaria transmission blocking vaccine. So far the project has been great at combining my current interests, whilst allowing me to develop new skills such as python programming.
I completed my undergraduate and Masters in Molecular Biotechnology at Heidelberg University (Germany) where I developed a profound interest in virology and immunology. I then moved to Oxford to work as a research assistant in Jim Hughes‘ lab at the WIMM, working on genetic variation in anaemia. Although this was an amazing opportunity to learn new techniques and I truly enjoyed working there, I decided that for my DPhil I would like to go back to my main interest in applied research in the fields of infection and immunology. For my first rotation, I joined William James’ lab in the Dunn School of Pathology where I am looking at the fusion of HIV-infected T cells and macrophages, particularly at transcriptomic changes.
I did my undergraduate degree in biology at Oxford university, and completed my research project in the lab of Professor Sir Andrew McMichael. I remained in Oxford for an MSc in Integrated Immunology, and during this time, I worked in the Jenner Institute with Dr Teresa Lambe on a project developing multivalent vaccines for outbreak pathogens including Ebola viruses and Marburg virus. From these projects, I have developed a strong interest in viruses, vaccine development, and T-cell immunology.
For my first rotation, I am working with Professor Ellie Barnes at the Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research. I am comparing T-cell responses to hepatitis C virus infections and vaccination in human and rat models. I am really looking forward to the next four years of this DPhil, and being able to experience a broad range of labs and research fields.
Before coming to Oxford, I did my undergraduate degree in Biomedicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. There I had the opportunity to work on several short term research projects that ignited my interest in infection and immunology. I participated in the synthetic biology competition iGEM as part of the first ever team from Stockholm, investigated the epigenetic effects of human herpesvirus 6B with Anna Fogdell-Hahn and studied the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type VI secretion system as an exchange student in Alain Filloux’s lab at Imperial College.
During my first year in the IITM programme I did rotations with Hal Drakesmith researching the effect of iron deficiency on adaptive immunity, with Chris Tang working on a chimeric antigen subunit vaccine against serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis and with Tal Arnon imaging T cell migration in the spleen.
I returned to Hal Drakesmith’s lab for my DPhil, where I’m researching how iron deficiency affects malaria vaccine efficacy.