“I hunt viruses from the air people breathe out, before they develop cold or flu symptoms“

I did Medical Science at university to get a taste of both science and medicine. I love that clinical scientific research has a strong medical focus – plus the excitement of being able to direct your own research interests and discover medical breakthroughs.

My research focuses on looking for viruses that cause the cold or flu, both in people’s lungs and in the air they breathe out. I use a molecular technique called polymerase chain reaction, which can multiply a single virus particle into millions of copies so that we can figure out which bugs are present in someone’s lungs. I aim to develop a sensitive way to detect these viruses when people breathe, before they even develop symptoms of a cold or flu.

I spend half my time at the hospital interacting with patients to collect samples, and the other half in the lab working with cool machines and hunting viruses. I have shown some very exciting results that may change the way we treat people who are sick with a cold or flu! 

Alicia Mitchell, Microbiologist.