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Hannah Klim


During my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Wellesley College (MA, USA), I spent a year as an exchange student at the University of Oxford. Through tutorials, I had my first real exposure to virology and researchers working in the field. I became fascinated by the puzzle of why we could design vaccines for certain viruses but not others. I wanted to learn anything and everything about how viruses escape our immune systems, and how to design therapeutics and vaccines against them.

I returned to Oxford to purse these questions, and I’m now in the final year of my DPhil with Professor Miles Carroll at the Pandemic Sciences Institute and Centre for Human Genetics. My research is looking at both the how and why of viral spread. Which ecosystems and environmental features increase the risk for viral spread from animals into humans? What are the effects of land use changes on the likelihood of a spillover event? What makes a virus better adapted to thrive in this environment and jump between species? I’ve been studying these questions with a focus on Malaysian Borneo and influenza, along with colleagues based all over the world! I’m hoping to apply the skills I’ve learned in virology and statistics over the last few years to further our understanding of spillover events at the human-animal interface.