In profile: Dr Catherine Kibirige, Research Manager

For the latest instalment of our Staff Profile series we spoke to Catherine Kibirige, our newly appointed Research Manager for the Departments of Immunology and Inflammation and Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction. Here she talks about her career journey and what she is looking forward to during her time in the department.

Introduce yourself – who are you and what do you do?

My name is Dr. Catherine Kibirige and I am the new Research Manager on secondment, within the department.

Tell us about your career so far – when did you join the college, and where were you working/studying before this?

Previously, I was a Research Associate within the Department of Infectious Disease initially within the Human Immunology Laboratory of IAVI (formerly the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative).  I worked on several projects developing assays to aid in vaccine screening.  I started on a temporary contract for 6 months in 2016, then went on to begin the postdoctoral position in 2017.  I developed a sensitive HIV quantification assay with broad subtype specificity and went on to explore its commercialization potential within the Centre of Immunology and Vaccinology from 2021 to March of this year.  I obtained a Healthy Society Impact Acceleration Award to support this work as well as participating in the MedTech Accelerator, WE Innovate, WE Accelerate and ICURe business accelerator programs.  I founded and acted as the entrepreneurial lead for “The HIVQuant Project”.

What is the most challenging part of your role so far?

The most challenging part of my role so far is getting my head around all the different researchers and projects within the two departments I oversee.  It is all very exciting and interesting to learn about all the amazing work that is going on within my departments, but it has been a lot of information to digest.

What aspect of your role are you most excited about?

I’m excited about being able to support researchers who are going through similar challenges to the ones I faced as a postdoctoral researcher.  I’m actually very excited about learning  and disseminating information about the different funding opportunities and best practice for successful applications.  I’m excited about being able to help researchers advance their careers as best as they possibly can.

When you are not working, what are your main passions and hobbies?

I am passionate about my spirituality / Church and love gospel music.  Although I currently do not sing in a choir, I have done that a lot in the past.  I enjoy swimming, going to the park and meeting friends for dinner or seaside / beach vacations.  I am a bit of a foodie and love South-East Asian and African food.

Finally – what’s one thing you would like staff in the department to know about you that we haven’t already covered?

I would like staff to know that no question is too silly or irrelevant.  I would like new staff and early career researchers in particular, to feel free to contact me with whatever queries they have.

More about the Immunology and Inflammation Research Committee:

Are you a reseacher in need of support from the department?  The Research Committee exists to provide executive oversight of Research Strategy within the department including providing support for grant applications through internal peer review and mock interviews.  The Research Committee can be approached as soon as you have an idea for a proposal or collaborative project and would like advice, collaborator recommendations or feedback.  Dr. Catherine Kibirige is the Research Manager within the committee either directly or via with the research committee email, with further queries. Catherine can provide guidance on funding opportunities, assistance with external and internally managed funding schemes and advice on writing grants, particularly non-scientific aspects such as sustainability, research culture, public engagement and data management plans. Catherine also provides letters of support and host institutional statements, as needed, and organises peer review for your applications and mock interviews for shortlisted candidates.

Do note that the Research Committee webpage includes a grant application guide and other resources, that will be added to in the future. In an ideal world, it would be nice to have a draft of your application at least 6 months before the deadline, so we can review and really help refine it. This will give you the best possible chance of success. Please get in touch as early as you can, no question is too silly or irrelevant.