Shannon McSweeney

MRC/DTP PhD Student

In 2017, Shannon graduated from Swansea University with a BSc in Biology with a focus on parasitology. Following this, she obtained an MSc in The Molecular Biology and Control of Parasites and Disease Vectors from LSTM with Distinction in 2018. Shannon's MSc research project investigated the biotherapeutic potential of PfEMP1 targeting immunoglobulins as an adjunct therapy for the treatment of severe malaria supervised by Dr Britta Urban and Professor Richard Pleass. Shannon continued working on her MSc research project as a research technician at LSTM for a year specialising in molecular biology and engineering of immunoglobulins, parasite and cell culture and in 2019 she started the MRC Doctoral Training Programme at LSTM. In 2020 Shannon graduated from the integrated MRes at Lancaster University in Global Health: Quantitative and Translational Skills with a focus in Genomics, Bioinformatics and 'R'.

Shannon is undertaking her PhD in Blantyre, Malawi at the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme supervised by Professor Nicholas Feasey, Dr Kayla Barnes and Professor Richard Pleass. Her project focusses on environmental surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 which has become an increasingly popular COVID-19 monitoring tool with a particular focus on wastewater-based epidemiology. During her PhD, Shannon aims to develop and optimise a magnetic bead-based method for the isolation of SARS-CoV-2 from environmental samples and generate data from samples taken throughout the COVID-19 pandemic from Blantyre. SARS-CoV-2 isolated from environmental samples will be sequenced using Illumina and samples will additionally be tested for viral enteropathogens using an RT-qPCR panel which she will design and develop. Shannon will also attempt to establish the infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from environmental samples by a variety of different methods.