Research Day: meet the PhD/MD prize winner
Published: 22 December 2020
Research Day took place at St George's on Wednesday 2 December. As part of the day, students from across the university presented their research. Three finalists were selected by a panel of judges in the categories of undergraduate, MSc/ MRes and PhD/MD, with the best presentation in each category decided by an audience vote. Sam Smith won the PhD/MD prize for his presentation 'Designing novel therapeutic approaches for clinical rabies'.
Explaining the topic of his presentation, Sam begins, "I found rabies a really interesting subject to do my PhD on for so many reasons. Rabies is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind but bizarrely we know so little about it. Globally, we've managed to eradicate rabies from multiple countries across the globe, but around 60,000 people still die from rabies every year. Rabies is also seen as an incurable disease, where the survival rate drops to 0% upon the development of symptoms.
"So, a project directed towards the development of a novel treatment for symptomatic rabies infection really appealed to me. I can't take credit for the idea, that goes to my supervisors, but I've managed to make some really good progress within the lab and we're hoping to see some really promising data soon.
"Over the past few years, for various reasons, I've not been able to disclose a lot about my project but being able to finally present my work at Research Day felt great. This project is something I'm really passionate about and I've been working on it constantly for the past couple of years.
"I've always enjoyed talking about my project (winning the best PhD research presentation prize was a welcome bonus!) and while presenting online had its own challenges, it also makes the talks much more accessible. I think Research Day is a great event and is a great way to share information about some of the best student research happening at St Georges."