Sam is currently a 3rd year PhD candidate at The Peter Doherty Institute where she investigates antibody functions in infectious diseases, including HIV and COVID-19. Before her PhD education, Sam received a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience with Honours (H1) from La Trobe University. During honours, Sam characterised the antibody response of cattle to a vaccine for Liver Fluke. Furthermore, she completed three weeks work experience at MSD Animal Health (Bendigo) and a summer internship with CSIRO (Narrabri). Upon completion of honours, Sam was employed as a research assistant at La Trobe University for 6 months, where she expressed proteins for an upcoming cattle vaccine trial. Her passion for vaccine development and antibody immunology has led to her decision to continue with a PhD.
Sam’s PhD project aims to investigate the functions of antibodies in infectious diseases, including HIV and COVID-19. Sam is particularly interested in the effector functions of an antibody called IgA. Her project involves using flow cytometry and multiplex to investigate the functional properties of IgA and how IgA may impact other antibody functions during HIV and COVID-19.
Sam has published a first author review paper on IgA and is a co-first author on a COVID-19 research paper. She has also collaborated on many other COVID-19 immunology research papers over the past year. Sam has achieved several awards for conference presentations and was a Three Minute Thesis finalist at the University of Melbourne in 2020.
Aside from her project, Sam shares her knowledge and passion for STEM by demonstrating a third-year immunology subject at the University of Melbourne and is a scientist mentor at GTAC.
Ultimately, Sam aims to improve human and animal health through research and development of antibody therapies and vaccines for zoonotic diseases.