Meet 2023 Infection Science Awardee James Larkin

Posted on November 6, 2023   by Microbiology Society

The Microbiology Society Infection Science Award aims to support the exchange of ideas and the career development of promising early career and trainee researchers, helping to translate microbiological research to the clinic. The scheme facilitates selected presenters from the Infection Forum at Annual Conference to present their work at the Federation of Infection Society (FIS) conference.

In this blog meet one of this year’s awardees, James Larkin (University College Cork, Ireland), who will be presenting in the Infectious Disease session taking place on 15 November 2023 at FIS 2023.

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What are your current research interests?

My current research interests focus on the cystic fibrosis respiratory microbiota and their interaction with the host and each other, in particular the interactions of fungal and bacterial respiratory pathogens in the context of the CF lung.

What is the theme of your talk?

The theme of my talk will centre on chronic infection in the CF lung, specifically the influence of human host factors on the colonising behaviour of the fungal respiratory pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.

How would you explain your research to a GCSE student?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic disease which affects millions of people worldwide and reduces the function of their lungs, with inflammation and buildup of mucous. People with CF suffer from chronic infections caused by invasive bacteria and fungi, making their condition worse. It is important to understand how these bacteria and fungi behave in the CF lung and how they colonise it, as increased understanding enables more effective treatments to be developed in the future.

If you could do any other job, what would it be?

Engineering appeals to me as it involves creativity finding practical solutions to problems, as biology often does.

Why is it important for the infection science community to engage with the Microbiology Society?

Sharing insights and knowledge between researchers in different areas of biology is critical to the advancement of our overall understanding. The scale and complexity of biological systems makes it essential to take a step back and consider them from a wider perspective to see the broader picture.