Meet Charlotte - Our Research Intern!

Charlotte is our talented Research Intern who is key in driving our trial at White Rose Park forwards. Charlotte is responsible for weekly sampling and testing of the bacterial and viral levels in the environment. This data will hopefully demonstrate the efficacy of Far-UVC lights in an occupied environment.

We asked Charlotte a few questions about the research project at White Rose Park and what the future holds for her after university!

Tell us a bit about yourself and what sparked your interest in science?

"I’m 20 years old (almost 21!) and I’m from Manchester. I’ve always been quite an inquisitive person so when I was introduced to science throughout secondary school, I just loved learning more about new scientific concepts, particularly in biology. This carried through into A-Levels and ultimately directed my degree choice as I began to not only admire the complexities of the subject but also the potential it has to help society through medicine."

 

"The degree I chose was Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds since it allowed me to cover a broad range of topics including cell biology, biochemistry, physiology and plant biology. This allowed me to ultimately find which field interested me the most and that I wanted to pursue further which was infection and diseases- a topic that hadn’t been covered much during my A-levels but one I thoroughly enjoyed when I was introduced to it in my first year."

 

Which aspects of your degree do you enjoy the most?

"My degree is very content-heavy so there’s a broad range of different topics that are studied. Starting with the learning of key concepts and then moving onto research papers helps you get a real understanding of the work happening currently in the field which is really exciting and something I really value since my ultimate goal is a career in research science. Moreover, a large proportion of my degree is practical so it’s great to be able to conduct experiments that complement the theory that you’re learning although sadly a lot of this was moved online during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic."

 

"I’ve just completed the third year of my degree, which is an integrated master’s, so I’ll be starting my final year in October. I’ll get to work within one of the research labs at the university and get a real insight into what research is like as a career which I’m really looking forward to."

 

How did you first get involved in the project with Moore Medtech and had you heard about Far-UVC?

"On the University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences webpage, I saw an advertisement for a summer internship that was within the field of microbiology/infection and diseases which is my field of study. It was advertised here since Moore MedTech have collaborated with the university to investigate their Far-UVC lights meaning it was a unique opportunity to work both for a company and my university. The role itself looked perfect for me since I’d be able to further develop my lab skills and get experience working within an enterprise whilst being able to get involved in a project investigating such promising technology."

 

"I hadn’t heard of Far-UVC technology before. I was aware of the use of UV sterilisation for medical equipment but not specifically Far-UVC and its use in public spaces. Learning more about the technology was really exciting as I could appreciate the potential it could have for the future in helping to minimise the spread of disease since it is transferrable for any viruses or bacteria."

 

What is the process you have to follow to test the environment?

"I’m testing for viruses within the air and bacterial levels on surfaces therefore I’m following 2 different protocols. For the viral sampling, I am using a microcyclone which collects any viral particles that are within the air and concentrates them into a liquid which is ready for testing in the lab. For the bacterial sampling, I am taking surface swabs of the environment, also to be lab-tested. This sampling is being completed both when the lights are on and off, with the latter acting as a control showing the ‘baseline’ levels of viruses and bacteria that the results can be compared to in order to see if there is an effect of the lights."

 

Charlotte 7

 

What results are you hoping to see?

"I’m hoping to see that there is a notable decrease in the levels of viruses and bacteria when the lights are in use versus the control sampling where the lights are not."

"This would help to complement the current research findings which demonstrate the efficacy of Far-UVC. The testing at White Rose Park will add to the body of research on Far-UVC, showing its effect in a real-world setting and could aid in the rollout of these lights into public spaces across the UK."

 

How do you measure the success of the results?

"For the viral samples, these are going to be tested by qPCR (the same way a covid test is carried out) which can detect SARS-CoV-2 in addition to several other viruses responsible for common colds and flu therefore giving a measure of the level of viruses in the air. For the bacterial samples, I am going to be using the HybriScan technology that detects the presence of bacterial rRNA which will therefore indicate the levels of bacteria. The read-out from these results can be compared to control samples when the lights are off (and therefore the usual levels of viruses and bacteria) so that the effects of the lights can be measured."

 

What do you hope to do for a career in the future?

"Following my master’s, I’m hoping to complete a PhD so that I can work in the field of infectious diseases as a research scientist. The experience I have gained and continue to gain from this internship with Moore MedTech will support these future career aspirations."

Learn more about our Far-UVC solutions here.

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