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Carolyn Nielsen


As an immunologist, I’m interested in understanding how people’s immune systems respond to vaccines and how we can use this information to develop even better ways of vaccinating people to protect us against infectious diseases. For the past 6 years I’ve worked with the clinical team in Professor Simon Draper’s research group who run malaria vaccine trials here in the UK and with collaborators in Tanzania. The work I do within this team focuses on a type of immune cell called B cells. Since these are the cells that make antibodies, if we can work out how to maximise the B cell response we should be able to design vaccination strategies that give longer-lasting protection against malaria and other important diseases. Before working in Oxford, I did my undergraduate degree in Biology at Durham University, followed by a master’s degree in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Baltimore, USA) and a PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Throughout this time I enjoyed interacting with different audiences around the use of vaccines, particularly through public engagement activities with primary and secondary schools.