Meet the Young Microbiologist of the Year Finalists: Laura Petch

Posted on September 3, 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.

Eukaryotic Division Finalist: Laura Petch

© Laura Petch

Current position: PhD student, University of Kent

Title of talk: The impact of natural genetic variation on protein aggregation in Saccharomyces species

Research interests: My main research interest is epigenetics in yeast, and I explore extrachromosomal regulators of phenotypic heterogeneity in Saccharomyces sensu stricto.

Theme of talk: My talk will focus on protein aggregation, which is associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease, and the possible influence of genotype on this aggregation. Specifically, my research focuses on similar types of amyloid aggregates in Baker’s yeast and other closely related species.

If I wasn't a microbiologist, I would be... a strength and conditioning coach and full-time competitive powerlifter.

Laura'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