Date of Birth: 23rd Dec 1967

What institutions did she attend?

  • St Joseph’s Girls RC School, Trinidad
  • St Augustine Girls’ High School, Trinidad
  • King’s College, University of London, England- BSc in Biotechnology
  • Institute of Cancer Research at the University of London, England- PhD in Molecular Virology

Other Achievements

  • Selected as one of UWI’s 60 leading academics (“60 under 60”) as part of 60th anniversary celebrations, 2008
  • Commonwealth Research Fellowship, University of Oxford, 2004 and 2005
  • Wellcome Trust Research Development Award, 1996
  • King’s College Sambrooke Exhibition Prize, 1988 and 1989
  • Trinidad and Tobago National Scholarship, 1986

FUN FACTS:

In early secondary school, she was fascinated by iconic scientist, Sir David Attenborough, the narrator and author of the science television series, “Life on Earth.”

 

She reads widely, both fiction and non-fiction, and one of her favourite books is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein.

Christine Carrington
Caribbean Women in STI

Dr Christine Carrington is a molecular virologist and university lecturer. She is striving to more fully understand how environmental, ecological and genetic changes enable viruses that once only affected animals to infect humans. She hopes her research will help control emerging viruses. These are viruses that mutate and emerge as new diseases or pathogen strains. Such viruses include dengue and the West Nile virus.

At the Institute of Cancer Research in England, she studied the Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1), under virologists Professors Robin Weiss and Thomas Schulz. Her interests then shifted to emerging viruses, especially mosquito-borne viruses. Her research focuses on genetic changes in dengue viruses in the Americas and their geographic spread since they were introduced to the region.

Dr Carrington is a senior lecturer in the Department of Pre-Clinical Science, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, Trinidad. She teaches biochemistry and molecular genetics, and is also the Deputy Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at that campus. She has published in international journals and is a regular reviewer for the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, Journal of General Virology, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Christine Carrington was born on 23rd December, 1967 in St Augustine, Trinidad but spent most of her childhood in Orange Grove, Tacarigua. Her mother was her biology teacher and nurtured her love for science. As a teacher, her mother encouraged her to make careful observations and to use what she already knew to solve problems. This made science interesting and very enjoyable. At home, her father encouraged her to read and discuss with him what she had learnt. Her fascination with viruses came from the way in which they could find their way inside cells, and literally hijack and take control of them.

Dr Christine Carrington believes in balancing life. Her personal mantra is, “Work hard and play hard.” She advises science students that, “Your language skills will be extremely important. As a scientist, you will have to express complex ideas to others, and you have to understand very clearly what others write or say.” She also encourages budding scientists to, “Read widely. Don’t just read science. Music, art and drama are not just for artists. They, too, can help you achieve your goals.”


CAREER INFORMATION

What is a molecular virologist?

A molecular virologist is a specialist in the field of microbiology, who studies viruses and virus-like agents. Virologists are employed in fields such as medicine, disease control, agriculture and veterinary medicine. They study the structure, classification and evolution of viruses, how they are spread, the diseases they cause, and the methods to isolate and grow them. They are responsible for knowing how viruses work, how they impact life forms, and how they can be controlled.

Areas of Specialisation

  • Clinical virology
  • Molecular virology
  • Plant virology
  • Veterinary virology

What do I need to study?

At CSEC and CAPE: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics

A first degree in one of the biological sciences such as biology, biochemistry and microbiology is required. To undertake research work, a master’s or PhD in virology or microbiology is necessary.

What skills and traits do I need?

  • Passion for science
  • Excellent analytical, interpretive and communication skills
  • Good problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Must be able to work with a team

Famous Virologists

  • Edward Jenner
  • Robert Charles Gallo
  • Luc Montagnier
  • William B. Coley
  • Richard Pfeiffer
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