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:
Eukaryotic Division Finalist: Paula Seoane
Job Title: PhD student
Place of Work: Host and Pathogen interactions lab, University of Birmingham
Research Interests: I am interested in how pathogens evade the host’s immune response. I have worked on parasites avoiding triggering the complement system and now on fungi escaping from macrophages!
Theme of talk: My talk focuses on the interaction between the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans and one of our body’s defender cells; the macrophage. Macrophages are experts at dealing with pathogens, engulfing foreign invaders and rapidly clearing infection. However, Cryptococcus has learned how to live within macrophages and even uses it as a Trojan horse to reach distal sites in the body. Cryptococcus infection is particularly relevant in HIV patients, hence my work has tried to look at the interaction of macrophages and Cryptococcus in the context of a viral infection.
If I would not be a microbiologist, I would be… a science fiction writer. I love reading in my spare time and always enjoy trying to guess the twist in the plot, so maybe I would have been a writer!
Paula’s talk, ‘Exploring the effects of Interferon a on Cryptococcus neoformans infection’ will take place at 14:30 at the Microbiology Society AGM on September 6.
Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks. Previous finalist profiles:
Laura Caller, Virology Division Finalist
Freddy Bunbury, Eukaryotic Division Finalist
Cathy Abberton, Irish Division Finalist
Courtney Kousser, Prokaryotic Division Finalist
Rute Maria Pinto, Virology Division Finalist