Sussex researcher claims third place in national microbiology competition

A researcher from the University of Sussex is celebrating this week after finishing third in a national microbiology competition.

Dr Aline Tabib-Salazar and Michael McClellanDr Aline Tabib-Salazar (left) was awarded third place in the Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition. Michael McClellan (right) was also a finalist in the competition.

Dr Aline Tabib-Salazar, from the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology subject group, won third place in the 2013 Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition, organised by the Society for General Microbiology.

The Society for General Microbiology (SGM) is a membership organisation for scientists working in all areas of microbiology. It is the largest microbiological society in Europe and aims to promote high quality microbiological science to a diverse range of stakeholders.

Aline was shortlisted out of 180 applicants and competed against five other finalists from the universities of Cambridge, Leeds, Dublin and Cork at the SGM Autumn Conference, which took place on the Sussex campus on Tuesday (3 September).

As part of the competition, Aline was given 10 minutes – followed by five minutes for questions – to present and defend her research to conference delegates.

She discussed her research on a protein in Streptomyces coelicolor, soil-dwelling bacteria that produce the majority of antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine.

Her work, completed in Dr Mark Paget’s research group, was funded by the University of Sussex, the Overseas Research Student Awards Scheme, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Aline was awarded £100 and a year’s free membership of the SGM for her win.

She said: “I enjoyed taking part in the competition and it was a big honour to be selected as a finalist for the Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition. The five finalists I was competing against were very good, each giving a very stimulating talk in their own field of microbiology research.

“It was a tough competition and I am very honoured to have won the third prize.”

Also competing in the finals was Sussex PhD student, Michael McClellan, who presented his research on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and how it can cause blood cancer in a subset of infected people.

His work, funded by the BBSRC, was completed in Dr Michelle West’s research group.

Aline and Michael are also Sussex graduates, having completed their undergraduate degrees at the University prior to embarking on their postgraduate research careers.