Dr Christie Noble
Academic Foundation Programme (2016)
Pathway to an AFP position
I became interested in research during my preclinical years at Cambridge. I spent a summer at the Sanger Institute, investigating the genetic basis of acute myeloid leukaemia. I found this experience fascinating and was particularly inspired by my supervisor, who cared for patients with AML in his clinic, then returned to the lab to work on improving the prognosis for his patients.
I went on to complete my clinical studies at Imperial and also enjoyed the exposure to clinical research. I developed an interest in paediatrics and wanted to pursue further research in this area.
What does the work involve?
I spent my FY1 year in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, rotating through general surgery, geriatrics and anaesthetics/ ITU (with day release). My FY2 year was spent in Oxford, with placements in A&E and community psychiatry, and a 4-month block for research.
My academic block was spent with the HIV Research Group, part of the Department of Paediatrics, under Professor Goulder. The group investigates immunological aspects of the South African paediatric HIV epidemic, including the unique immunological responses of a group of paediatric ‘non-progressors’, who may offer an insight into potential strategies for cure. I used my day release to become more familiar with the research techniques required, including sequencing and viral replication assays, and spent my 4-month block carrying out a project looking at mother to child transmission of HIV. I attended journal clubs and seminars within the lab, and also the useful Essential Research Skills course run by OUCAGS.
The AFP has offered a unique opportunity to devote four months completely to research, as well as the opportunity to work with eminent researchers and research groups. The main concern for me was the loss of clinical time, making it harder to achieve the required competencies.
One of the main reasons for choosing the programme in Oxford was having the freedom to choose my own research project and supervisor, as well as working in such a renowned centre of research. I have really enjoyed my time in Oxford, and it has been a great place to live and work. I have particularly enjoyed having access to the Bodleian library and being able to visit the colleges.
I enjoyed my research on paediatric HIV and it has reinforced my desire to pursue clinical work and research in global child health. This year I am completing a Masters in Tropical Medicine and International Health at LSHTM. Part of my motivation for choosing this course was the desire to bridge the gap between lab work and clinical work/ population studies.