skip to content

Department of Genetics


The Award

The Schmidt Science Fellowships are highly competitive awards established by Eric Schmidt from Google that support a pathway to independence. Around 30 awards are made internationally per year to individuals with recent PhDs that are focused on analytical approaches in the sciences.

We have two recipients from the Pathogen Dynamics Unit in the same awarding class.

Megan O’Driscoll

Megan was a PhD student in the Pathogen Dynamics Unit. Megan’s work focuses on understanding what infects people in lower income countries. She developed analytical approaches applied to novel multipathogen serological assays to reconstruct individuals’ infection histories. She was also heavily involved in the COVID-19 response, providing some of the first estimates of the infection fatality ratios by age across the world, highlighting likely many missing deaths in some countries and the excessive burden in care homes in Western countries.

Sophie Belman

Sophie was a joint PhD student between the Pathogen Dynamics Unit and the Sanger Institute. She worked on high detailed pneumococcal genomic data from around the world, and especially Africa. She developed novel approaches to track how the pneumococcus spreads across communities and how the pneumococcal vaccine changes the disease ecology of circulating strains.