Meet the Young Microbiologist of the Year finalists: Aisling Towell

Posted on November 12, 2020   by Microbiology Society

The Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Prize is awarded by the Society each year. The prize recognises and rewards excellence in science communication by a Microbiology Society member who is a postgraduate student or postdoctoral researcher, having gained their PhD in the last two years. The young scientists on this shortlist will give a 15-minute presentation at Why Microbiologists Matter on Wednesday 25 November. In the run up to the event, we will be getting to know the finalists. 

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Aisling Towell
© Aisling Towell

Aisling Towell

Current position: Scientific writer, Novartis Pharmaceuticals 

Title of talk: How does Staphylococcus aureus colonise atopic dermatitis skin? 

Research interests: My research involved investigating human colonisation by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, an important commensal pathogen. I definitely find it exciting when research links the bacterial and the host factors to fully describe a pathogenic disease. 

Theme of talk: Atopic dermatitis is exacerbated by the presence of Staphylococcus aureus on the skin, leading to painful, itchy skin lesions. My PhD focused on identifying interactions between human proteins and S. aureus proteins, which facilitates the bacteria adhering to the skin. We hope to use this information to prevent the bacteria adhering to the skin, thus improving atopic dermatitis symptoms. 

If I was not a microbiologist, I would be… Recently, I’ve started a role in medical communications at a pharmaceutical company. I have always had a passion for scientific communication, and a keen interest in using a scientific data to develop a story. This role allows me to do that for novel and exciting disease therapies.   

Aisling's talk will take place during Why Microbiologists Matter on 25 November. For more information about the event, or to register, visit the event page. Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks.  
Previously published profiles can be found below:  
Ekaterina Buzun 
Amy Jacobs 
Vanessa Las Heras 
Abraham Lee 
Thomas O’Brien