Dr Tehmina Bharucha, an Academic Clinical Fellow in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology in London, was presented with last year’s Johnny Sutton Travel Bursary by Dr Ava Easton, the Chief Executive of the Encephalitis Society.

The £500 prize was used by Tehmina to travel to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Conference in Maryland, where she presented her research looking at the detection of Japanese encephalitis virus in throat swabs and urine samples in patients in Laos PDR. She then spent several weeks in the Section of Infections of the Nervous System at the at the National Institutes for Health.

Dr Tehmina Bharucha with her supervisor Professor Paul N Newton, of the Nuffield Department of Medicine

“I was extremely grateful for the support from the Encephalitis Society last year, and made good use of the opportunities,” said Tehmina. “Aside from attending the ASTMH conference and presenting my research, I participated in the arbovirology pre-meeting course.”

 “I then spent a month at the National Institute for Health under the supervision of Dr Avindra Nath, learning virology laboratory skills, getting clinical exposure of neurological infections, and interacting with clinicians and scientists in the field.”

She added: “I am now taking an extended period out of clinical work, and am starting an Medical Research Council-funded DPhil at the University of Oxford. This involves collecting samples from Laos from patients with suspected brain infections, and transporting them to Oxford to try and improve the diagnosis of Japanese encephalitis virus.”

*The Travel Bursary is named after Johnny Sutton who was sadly lost to encephalitis when he was only 17 years-old. His family created the prize in support of students in the fields of medicine and neuropsychology.