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Infection and Immunity Early Career Researchers’ symposium

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I&I ECR symposium Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas receiving her prize

I&I ECR symposium Aaron Lim

Aaron Lim receiving his prize

22 January 2020

The Infection and Immunity Research Network, supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, studies the immune system in health and illness and the cause, spread, treatment and prevention of infectious disease. On 10 January, the Network hosted its 5th Early Career Researchers’ (ECR) symposium, bringing together over 70 researchers with an interest in infection and immunity.

The Network’s research stretches from emerging infections, that can be spread around the world by modern travel or by environmental change, to chronic inflammatory conditions that consume the resources of first-world economies. Our research seeks to provide solutions with immediate relevance to modern demands. 

The half-day programme, delivered to an audience of 73 registered delegates, included seven oral presentations given by ECRs from across the Faculties of Life and Health Sciences on topics as diverse as disease transmission models (Antoine Barreaux, School of Biological Sciences), oral biofilm formation (Hannah Serrage, Bristol Dental School), impact and costs of Hepatitis C treatments in Pakistan (Aaron Lim, Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences), and cell mechanisms in cardiovascular disease (Aaron Scott, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience) and others.

The symposium also hosted two external invited speakers -

  • Dr Selinda Orr from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen's University Belfast who discussed anti-fungal immunity and her career pathway as a Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow.
  • Dr Maisem Laabei, Department of Biology & Biochemistry at the University of Bath, who spoke about how cigarette smoke modifies Staphylococcus aureus virulence. 

There were also 17 posters given by presenters from the Bristol Medical School, School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Bristol Veterinary School, School of Biochemistry and School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience.

Infection and Immunity Network events offer a fantastic opportunity for researchers at all levels to hear about the different research taking place across the wider community in the expectation that discussions could lead to greater inter- and multidisciplinary understanding of the research in question, and its potential relevance to other research areas. This fosters not just the creation of new research directions but new ways of working, new ways to support and enable our academic community, and new learning experiences.

There were a number of prizes awarded on the day:

  • Best oral: Aaron Lim (Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences) for Estimating the Impact and Costs of Scaling-Up Screening and Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus in Pakistan: Working Towards Elimination                                                                                                         
  • Best poster (1st): Amy Thomas (Bristol Veterinary School) for Local, nasal, CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses to pandemic influenza virus infection in pigs correlate with clearance
  • Best poster (2nd): Drinalda Cela (Cellular and Molecular Medicine) for Regulation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) by CHK1 protein
  • Best poster (3rd): Tarcisio Brignoli (Cellular and Molecular Medicine) for Wall teichoic acid production influence toxicity of Staphylococcus aureus
  • Best poster (3rd): Ted Roberts (Biochemistry) for Ex vivo culture of neutrophils to examine neutrophil cell biology and disorders

The Infection and Immunity Research Network is grateful to the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for supporting this event, and to Qiagen and Abcam for sponsoring best oral and poster presentation (1st place) prizes of £50 each.

Further information

If you would to be part of the Infection & Immunity Network visit the website or email:

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