Orchid Allicock

Orchid Allicock, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral associate | Yale School of Public Health | Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Laboratory of Epidemiology of Public Health (LEPH) | 60 College St. | New Haven, CT 06510
Email: [email protected] | Twitter

BS in Biochemistry – University of the West Indies, Cave Hill
PhD in Molecular Genetics –University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
Postdoc in Pathogen Genomics- Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity

I am from Barbados, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill campus. I then moved to Trinidad and Tobago where I worked as a Laboratory/Field Technician at the UWI St. Augustine campus. It was in the laboratory of Dr. Christine Carrington that my interest in arboviruses and infectious diseases began. Throughout my time as a technician, and then a PhD student, I worked on various projects focused on understanding the evolutionary and ecological factors involved in the emergence, spread and maintenance of arboviruses in human populations, specifically dengue and chikungunya viruses. During this time I received a Commonwealth Split-site scholarship to attend the University of Edinburgh, where I was able develop my skills in molecular evolution and viral bioinformatics. For my PhD research, I used various molecular and bioinformatic tools to explore the evolutionary history and spatiotemporal dynamics of DENV in the Caribbean, within the context of the Americas. 

After graduation, I briefly worked at a diagnostics lab, but then the Caribbean experienced the first Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak. I felt compelled to return to the Carrington lab, where I worked on various ZIKV related projects. Shortly after, I moved to New York City to pursue a postdoc at the Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University. My focus shifted to diagnostic development, where I developed probe-based sequencing platforms for the surveillance of bacterial infections in humans and the  differentiation of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes. In the Grubaugh Lab, I am working on the development and validation of diagnostics for detection of respiratory infections in humans. When I’m not in the lab, I am either painting or tending to the rainforest in my apartment.