The Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Prize is awarded by the society each year. The prize recognises and rewards excellence in science communication by a Microbiology Society Member who is a postgraduate student or postdoctoral researcher, having gained their PhD in the last two years.
Two finalists are shortlisted from each of the Society’s divisions based on a presentation given the Microbiology Society Annual Conference or Irish meetings. The eight young scientists in this shortlist will give a 15-minute presentation at the Microbiology Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 6.
In the run up to the AGM, we will be getting to know this year’s finalists:
Virology Division Finalist: Laura Caller
Position: PhD Student
Institution: University of Cambridge
Research interests: As a virologist I study the human pathogen BK Polyomavirus (BKPyV). Around 90% of the population are infected with BKPyV, although disease is most often seen in kidney transplant patients. My research investigates how BKPyV interacts with its human host during replication, aiming to better understanding the virus life cycle.
Theme of talk: My talk describes how we have used cutting edge techniques to understand the way in which BKPyV infection changes the abundance of host proteins throughout the time course of an infection. I used the results of this large-scale experiment to explore which host proteins may be necessary for efficient virus protein synthesis and genome replication. To do this a number of inhibitors of the host cell cycle were used and lead to interesting results, which I examine further during the talk.
If I wasn’t a microbiologist, I would be… a performer of some kind. I am a member of my local circus and have performed dance and aerial acrobatics at local festivals and shows. I enjoy the exercise, the costumes, and the friends I have made doing it!
Laura’s talk, ‘Identifying protein activities essential for efficient BK polyomavirus replication through quantitative temporal viromics (QTV) and cell cycle inhibition’ will take place at 13:45 at the Microbiology Society AGM on September 6.
Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks.