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

© 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. 

Daniella's talk will take place at the Microbiology Society AGM on 12 September, at the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London. Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks. Already published profiles can be found below: 
Christine Jordan, Irish Division Finalist
Davis Laundon, Eukaryotic Division Finalist
Michaela Conley, Virology Division Finalist
Sarah Worsley, Parkaryotic Division Finalist
Paula Seoane, Eukaryotic Division Finalist
Gareth Raynes, Irish Division Finalist
Laura Petch, Eukaryotic Division Finalist