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EveryONE: Dr. Harriet Gliddon

Dr. Gliddon: Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London,London, United Kingdom

What first drew you to your field of research?
I was drawn to work in the i-sense team because coupling rapid diagnostic tests with digital healthcare technology seemed like a really cool idea, and could have a massive impact on public health.

What is your particular area of research, and why is it important?
I develop molecular diagnostics for HIV and tuberculosis. We are developing a rapid test for HIV RNA, which would allow early diagnosis of HIV and allow viral loads to be tested out of traditional laboratory settings. I am also working on developing faster workflows for sequencing tuberculosis DNA, which will allow people to be diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB earlier than current tools allow.

Is your research interdisciplinary?
My research is interdisciplinary, and this sometimes means that the peer review process can take a little longer than it might usually do. However, I’ve never had a bad experience of it and usually the reviewers’ comments are justified and helpful.

At what time in your career did you start thinking about Open Science, and why is it important to you?
At the most basic level, our research is funded by the UK taxpayer, so it’s vital that it isn’t hidden behind a paywall. But I think it goes deeper than that – we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants and learning from what others have done before us. To deny that knowledge to anyone else would be wrong in many ways, but at the most simple level it would result in more time and money spent on research that has already been done.

In summary, what drives you in your career in science?
The potential for something I’m working on to one day be adopted into clinical care, and improve the lives of people affected by infectious diseases, is a major driver of my work.

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