Hi, I’m Shawnee and I’ll soon be starting my QUADRAT DTP at Queen’s University Belfast. My project is titled ‘Identifying environmental factors for soil transmitted and food-borne helminth diseases in border regions of Northern Thailand’ and will eventually (pandemic-permitting) involve fieldwork out in Thailand. There, I will collect environmental samples and analyse them for the presence of several helminth species before using GIS to identify important environmental factors. Until then, I’ll be developing my sample collection and eDNA detection methods across Northern Ireland, where I’ll be looking at parasites of livestock.  

I first became interested in the weird and wonderful world of parasites as a BSc Ecology student at the University of East Anglia where I conducted a project on the endoparasites of small mammals. I later went on to study a MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation at the University of Bristol and was introduced to ‘One Health’, which involves taking a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to tackling health issues at the human-animal-environment interface. I knew I wanted to explore this further while developing my existing experience and interests and so I was thrilled to find this PhD which allows me to do just that!  

Identifying parasite eggs from the faecal sample of a wild field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) for my BSc dissertation

Outside of academia, I enjoy getting out into nature, exploring new places, and hanging out with my cats. This is my first time in Northern Ireland so I’m really looking forward to getting out and seeing more of it alongside my research.  

Penguin and Merlin, packed and ready for their move to Belfast!