FIS 2022 Journal of Medical Microbiology Poster Prize winner

Posted on October 24, 2022   by Microbiology Society

The Federation of Infection Societies conference (FIS) is the largest UK-hosted, international infection conference. In 2022 FIS was hosted by the Healthcare Infection Society. At the meeting, we awarded a poster prize, sponsored by the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Caitlin Fiona Stewart: Integrity and functionality assessment of antimicrobial 405-nm violet-blue light-treated prebagged human plasma stored for transfusion

Who or what inspired you to be a scientist?

As a young child, I was unable to accept things without knowing the ‘why’. The world of science allows us to experiment and understand why things exist, behave, and react. This has always fascinated me.

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

My PhD research focuses on the development of a decontamination technology, using violet-blue light, for blood transfusion products aimed to reduce transfusion-transmitted infections and improve overall blood safety. Generating novel research data that is clinically relevant is the most exciting part of my research.

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

Technologies are used to clean blood to reduce the risk of infection and improve blood transfusion safety. My research looks at using blue-light, which has shown to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses, to clean blood in an easier and safer way than current technologies. A key part of my research is to make sure that blue-light is safe to use. This poster shows that blue-light can kill bacteria in large blood bags (human plasma) without harming it, therefore showing that it has potential to safely reduce the risk of infection.

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

I imagine I would be a product development engineer … designing and developing medical devices!