From the cold to cooties – From Medicine to Medical Virology
Hello! I'm Geraldine (Gerry) Scullin and I'm a medical student currently taking a year out to study a Masters in Medical Virology, the study of viruses. These are the germs responsible for giving you everything from the common cold to other embarrassing illnesses that we don’t like to talk about. The treatment of viruses is actually really difficult, so as a medic I'm interested in what is being done to find out new ways to treat and diagnose them and how I can help.
On a typical day in my Masters I have lectures for a few hours each day and then labs in the afternoon. In labs we get to diagnose infections by growing viruses in cells and using molecular techniques. It can be quite difficult at times, because we're dealing with things that are too small for the human eye to see!
How I got here
During high school I actually wanted to be a lawyer, and then a vet. It was only when I was choosing my A Levels that I actually changed my mind and applied for medicine. To me it made sense because I enjoyed science and also had experience of seeing how hospital staff work together as my dad was in hospital when I was much younger. The two things clicked together and I haven't looked back since!
In DepthWhat I enjoy most about medicine is the diversity of the degree. There really is something for everyone. You can go into research, teach, do incredibly intricate surgeries or try to unravel the complexities of the human mind.
It's also great if you want to travel. Humans are the same no matter where you go, but their circumstances and diseases will change. This is the interesting thing about infectious diseases, and viruses in particular. There are some weird and wonderful infections out there to study, and there are also lots of ways you can help people in the developing world. That was the case in the Ebola epidemic (the strange knotty-looking thing in the picture), where doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals worked to dramatically reduce the transmission of this terrible disease. As both a medic and a scientist, I feel very privileged that I am able to learn about not only the clinical symptoms of diseases, but actually how they cause disease.
www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk - this is the website for the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, including both Medicine and Medical Virology. You can search for different degrees that you're interested in and read up on the grades and experience needed before you apply.
www.youtube.com is a great tool for explaining concepts that are difficult to understand. I'm a visual learner and so it really helps to actually SEE how things work.
If you want some basic information about conditions or diseases, www.patient.co.uk is a great website to start with. However, I'd be wary of googling all your symptoms as it can cause unnecessary panic (trust me, I know!)
If you're struggling with ideas about what you want to do later in life, http://joboutlook.gov.au/careerquiz.aspx is one of many websites that may be able to help you choose.
is great for looking at how disease outbreaks differ throughout the world and
can keep you up to date with new developments.