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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


In 2021, Cambridge Infectious Diseases organised a competition for undergraduates to submit research proposals for a summer studentship. After evaluating the submissions, CID awarded the grant to Kathryn Bowers, a BA student in Mathematics. 

We have asked her about her summer project experience.


Why did you decide to apply for the CID summer studentship?

Having done a non-funded internship in my first year applying ecological multispecies models to studying interclonal interactions in cancer, I wanted to further develop the skills I learned in another area of mathematical biology. Having decided to investigate the modelling of infectious diseases, the opportunity to get involved in the Cambridge Infectious Diseases network really excited me. Further, the prospect of being invited to present my work at the next CID meeting was of huge interest, as it added another level to my research project.

Which lab did you choose and why?

I chose to work with the host department being the Cambridge Department of Veterinary Medicine. The proposed project focussed on the use of mathematical models combined with experimental studies to investigate the dynamics of infectious diseases. The Department of Veterinary Medicine has strong research in infectious disease dynamics. Despite my project not focussing on animal or zoonotic diseases, the research of the department also encompasses entirely human infections.

How was your experience? What did you learn?

Through the difficulties of the COVID regulations, I carried out much of the project online. The ability to get involved in team meetings, as well as, having regular individual meetings with my project supervisor helped me feel involved in the department and research group. Some of the team meetings involved learning about peer review, and technical skills that are useful for research, along with presenting research updates and a journal club, where we looked at the paper Epidemiology, transmission dynamics and control of SARS: the 2002–2003 epidemic by Anderson, R.M. et Al.

Would you recommend it to other students?

I would definitely recommend the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Summer Studentship to other students. It was a great opportunity for me to carry out an interdisciplinary research project and gave me focus as to areas of research I would be interested in after my Mathematics undergraduate degree.