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A rocking good lecture

A University academic who left school early with dreams of being a rock star has been recognised for his internationally outstanding work in microbiology and his studies into the social lifestyle of the opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa the leading cause of death in Cystic Fibrosis patients and an important cause of hospital acquired infections.

Dr Steve Diggle, Royal Society University Research Fellow (and part-time bass guitarist) at The University of Nottingham, has been awarded a prize lecture by the Society for General Microbiology for outstanding research by a microbiologist in the early stages of his career.

Steve, who has spent over a decade working on bacterial cell-to-cell communication quorum sensing will give the Fleming Lecture at this year's Society for General Microbiology (SGM) Spring 2010 Meeting in Edinburgh on March 30.

Dr Diggle's research focuses on the ability of pathogenic bacteria to coordinate cooperative behaviours to exploit their hosts. His lecture, 'Microbial communication and virulence: lessons from evolutionary theory', addresses questions such as; what factors influence cooperation and the evolution of virulence in microbes; and can we exploit these to develop new antimicrobial strategies?

Steve said: "It is an honour, privilege and somewhat of a surprise to be given this award by the SGM. I am delighted that the Society has shown interest in my research and I hope that by furthering our understanding of the evolution of virulence in pathogenic organisms, we will find novel ways to combat the diseases they cause. This award would not have come about without the support of a number of my excellent colleagues and collaborators and so I extend my thanks to them."

In 2006 Steve received a five year fellowship from the Royal Society and decided to stay at The University of Nottingham to continue on his research into the evolutionary implications of quorum sensing, looking at why this type of behaviour occurs and is maintained within populations of pathogenic bacteria. His research has been published in the journals Nature and Current Biology.


Contact: Lindsay Brooke
University of Nottingham

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