Charlotte Gilkison is a senior advisor in the epidemiology team.
Charlotte earned her Bachelor of Science majoring in microbiology, and Masters in Public Health at the University of Otago.
“Some might argue that epidemiology is not a science, but others consider it to be the science of public health,” explains Charlotte Gilkison epidemiology analyst at ESR.
“Whatever the case, epidemiology requires the integration of a range of disciplines, including immunology, microbiology, molecular biology and genetics, medicine, maths and statistics. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that people from a diverse range of backgrounds can work in epidemiology and that a career in science can be very flexible.”
Over the past year, Charlotte’s been experiencing just how flexible her role can be.
“As we’re a relatively small team, there’s the opportunity to get involved in a variety of projects, which allows for continual skill and knowledge development,” Charlotte explains. “Since the start of 2020, my role has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been helping provide intelligence to the Ministry of Health by analysing data onCOVID-19 cases. It’s been fascinating to be involved in setting up surveillance of a novel disease right from the beginning and to be in an incident management team throughout lockdown.”
Charlotte’s job is a combination of fast-paced response work and long-terms projects, including working on journal articles. With a range of notifiable diseases now at play in the New Zealand environment, she has also found herself involved in working on solutions to a range of vaccine-preventable diseases. This work includes monitoring invasive pneumococcal disease and a national measles outbreak. Charlotte has also helped investigate some foodborne outbreaks.
“I have a passion for infectious disease epidemiology that stems from the interconnectedness with the world around us,” Charlotte explains. “I began university thinking I wanted to study medicine and was immediately drawn to health at a population level, particularly in the context of infectious diseases. I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science majoring in microbiology, and, from there, completed a Masters in Public Health. Now, working for ESR in applied epidemiology, I really love that my job can help solve real-world problems and informing public health actions that will improve lives.”