Femke started her DPhil in Population Health in October 2020, using genomic epidemiology to study bacterial meningitis in the group of Professor Angela Brueggemann. Femke’s research focuses on Streptococcus pneumoniae, an encapsulated bacterial pathogen that can cause devastating human disease, which disproportionately affects young children in the African meningitis belt. She uses applied mathematics and computer science to analyse the strains causing disease. Her DPhil is supported by the Oxford-MRC Doctoral Training Partnership and by the Nuffield Department of Population Health.
Prior to commencing her DPhil studies, Femke studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, graduating in June 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts and integrated Master in Sciences (First Class Honours). She was awarded the Programme for Research in Science and Engineering scholarship to conduct research at Harvard University in the summer of 2019, and has won the second place of the Harvard iGEM 2019 BioHackathon in a team with students from the USA and Bangladesh. As she applied to Cambridge when she was 16 years old, she was given a deferred entry and spent her gap year studying the first year of a Bachelor of Medicine at Radboud University in the Netherlands (Cum Laude), which sparked her interest in global health equality. Alongside her research in infectious disease epidemiology, she is passionate about contributing to access to vaccines and medicines for all, and is interested in the impact of climate change on health.