For most of her life, Sophie had wanted to be a surgeon. Then, when she was a junior studying pre-med at Stanford, her partner showed her 80,000 Hours’ article on how many lives you can save as a doctor. Sophie realised that she wanted to find a way to use her interest in biology and problem solving to help as many people as possible — and that that might not mean practising medicine. After a conversation with 80,000 Hours advisors, she decided to look into biosecurity.
While quarantined in Stanford’s infectious disease unit (after contracting an acute viral infection when she was volunteering in Kenya), she listened to an 80,000 Hours podcast episode featuring Dr Beth Cameron discussing the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Sophie decided that she should work on preventing infectious disease epidemics.
80,000 Hours was able to introduce Sophie to mentors and help her make connections across the biosecurity and effective altruism communities. She was offered a grant by the Open Philanthropy Project to fund her graduate program in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins.
In April 2020, she cofounded 1Day Sooner, an organisation to represent volunteers for challenge trials to accelerate the deployment of vaccines against COVID-19. As Director of Research, Sophie’s department evaluated evidence for the use of challenge trials.
In addition to her studies, Sophie is also a research assistant at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, where she analyses pandemic data on the relationship between the Global Health Security Index and countries’ COVID-19 performance, publishing a key paper on this in late 2021.
To learn more about Sophie’s work and pandemic prevention more generally, check out:
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