Microbiology Society Marjory Stephenson Prize 2019: Professor Gordon Dougan

Posted on June 18, 2019   by Matt Bassett

Professor Gordan Dougan, FRS (University of Cambridge, UK) was awarded the Marjory Stephenson Prize at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2019. He gave his talk on ‘Putting genomics into action'. In this post, Matt Bassett gives us an overview of the lecture which you can watch below.

Professor Dougan introduced his talk by giving us an overview of his extensive career; including his time working in the pharmaceutical industry, and various research institutions.

He then introduced us to his main area of expertise- typhoid, a human-specific disease that effects people worldwide, killing approximately 200,000 every year. Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. These bacteria are predominantly spread by consuming contaminated food or water. The disease is highly prevalent across areas of the world with poor sanitation facilities as infected human waste can contaminate water supplies.

Briefly explaining the lifecycle, range and impact of typhoid, Professor Douganthen went on to highlight some his research, including key turning points in typhoid research. He spoke about one particularly challenging interview for a grant application which resulted in he and a colleague being accused of wanting to cause a typhoid epidemic in the streets of Oxford. 

Concluding his lecture, Professor Dougan discussed his work on genomics with researchers worldwide, mapping the global phylogenetic structure of S. typhi to be able to see what typhoid looks like in the real world. From there, he was able to look at the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in S. typhi.

Throughout his talk Professor Dougan continued to illustrate the importance of impact driven science and the data that he and his research groups collected which drove the prequalification of a typhoid vaccine and told the audience: 'I encourage people to be positive about what they do and look for ways in which you can have impact in these settings.' 

You can view Professor Dougan’s full prize-winning lecture below:

Marjory Stephenson Prize Lecture 2019