Meet the Young Microbiologist of the Year Finalists: Daniella Lefteri
Posted on September 5, 2019 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. Two finalists are shortlisted from each of the Society’s Divisions based on a presentation given at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference or Irish Division meetings. The nine young scientists on this shortlist will give a 15-minute presentation at the Microbiology Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 12 September. In the run up to the AGM, we will be getting to know the finalists.
Virology Division Finalist: Daniella Lefteri
Current position: PhD student, University of Leeds
Title of talk: Modulation of arbovirus infection by mosquito saliva
Research interests: My research interests involve arboviruses and specifically the interactions between the vector species, the virus and the mammalian host, and how this influences arbovirus transmission and disease.
Theme of talk: During blood-feeding, mosquitoes inject saliva into the skin. Research has shown that the mosquito-borne virus infection of mammals is enhanced by the presence of mosquito saliva in comparison to when a virus is experimentally administered in the absence of a bite/saliva. Host responses elicited against saliva appear to be key in facilitating viral enhancement. Therefore, I have studied the mechanistic basis behind this observation by investigating the host responses involved in facilitating viral enhancement. A better understanding of this will aid the development of antiviral treatments targeting factors within the mosquito bite that are common to many distinct infections.
If I wasn't a microbiologist, I would be... a writer probably! I started reading before the age of three and have been reading books ever since. I have always enjoyed writing which has come in handy as a scientist, especially during the writing of my thesis.