BLAST conference: presentation prize winners

Posted on September 24, 2019   by Microbiology Society

This year, the Microbiology Society’s journals will be sponsoring oral and poster prizes at conferences and meetings around the world. We will be getting to know a little more about the winners and their research.


The Bacterial Locomotion and Signal Transduction (BLAST) conference focus on signal transduction and motility in prokaryotes, and this year was held in New Orleans. We spoke to Kylie Ryan, winner of the Microbiology prize for outstanding poster presentation.

Kylie Ryan
What was the title of your winning poster?

Histidine kinase-mediated lifestyle switch in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Who or what inspired you to be a scientist?

The support of my parents and my love of micro-organisms inspired me to be a scientist. My parents are not scientists, but they have always believed in my ability to succeed. When I realized that I loved microbiology, their support helped propel me into higher education.

What are you currently working on and what area of your research excites you the most?

I am currently learning how to use structural biology to understand a direct interaction between two histidine kinase proteins in P. aeruginosa. This interaction controls signalling through a pathway which allows P. aeruginosa to switch between an acute infection state and a chronic infection state in a human host.

How would you explain your poster to a child under 10?

We are trying to understand how bacteria, microscopic organisms, sense their surroundings and respond to what they sense, just like how we respond to things that we see, hear, touch, taste or smell.

What would you be doing in your career if you weren’t a scientist?

I would be a librarian. I love libraries and books!

Stay tuned for more prize winners!