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Morgan E. Williams Scholarship

Cardiff University LogoThe Morgan E. Williams scholarship is available for Masters of Research (MRes) students to partake in helminth parasitology research. A wide range of projects are available using a diversity of host-parasite systems, including invertebrates, fish and mammals. For more information, click here.

Case studies of  two scholarship students:

Kate Davidson (2013-14) 

Kate DavidsonI graduated with a BSc in Zoology in 2007 and since then have mostly been working in University administration, apart from a brief foray into secondary teaching (which I quickly realised wasn’t the career for me!). I decided last year that I wanted to return to science and research. I was awarded the Morgan E Williams Helminthology Scholarship which allowed me to return to Cardiff University to study for an MRes in Biosciences.

DSCF3782The first four months were a very intensive taught component, assessed by coursework and covering the latest research techniques, statistical analysis and key skills for research. Following this I joined the CRIPES research group for eight months to undertake my research project investigating branchiobdellidan worms on signal crayfish. Little is known of these ectosymbiotic annelids, which allowed great scope for me to investigate various life-history traits including the relationship with their crayfish hosts. I received academic supervision from Prof Jo Cable and practical day-to-day supervision from Jo James, as well as gaining support, advice and expertise from the rest of the CRIPES team. Now that I have completed my dissertation I will begin preparing my Master’s research for publication. In the longer term, I aim to study for a PhD in order to follow a career in academic research.

Christopher Wojcikowski (2012-13)

ChrisWReceiving the Morgan E. Williams Scholarship during my MRES gave me the opportunity to get involved with cutting edge parasitology research at Cardiff University. I was excited by the prospect of epidemiological research and got the chance to work with Dr Jo Lello investigating parasitic co-infection. The interaction of parasites within the host has been relatively understudied and given that most organisms are infected with multiple parasite species, understanding their relationships is very important.

We used German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) as a model host organism, with a gastrointestinal protozoan and a highly virulent nematode. The ultimate aim of the work (which is ongoing) is to determine whether infection of the cockroach with the endemic protozoan affects the transmission of the more virulent epidemic nematode. During the course of my involvement I maintained the cockroach lab, developed infection methods, devised experiments and passed on this knowledge to undergraduates helping out in the lab. I also developed my skills as a researcher by presenting talks, posters and regularly attending CRIPES meetings. There was always a very inviting and friendly atmosphere around the lab which encouraged me to push myself and achieve as much as possible over the course of the project.

I am currently working at the Office for National Statistics as a statistician, which would not be possible today without the knowledge, skills and confidence I gained during my time researching under the scholarship.

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