Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum Update: Looking forward: translating research and tackling mental health

Issue: Natural Products and Drug Discovery

05 November 2019 article

I can’t believe that this is my last Microbiology Today ECM Forum update! The Executive Committee was brand new when I joined, and it has been a privilege to see the Forum grow over these three years.

Your new Communications Representative will be Robert Will, a second year PhD student at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Gordon Dougan and Ankur Mutreja. He is investigating the global evolution and diversity of Corynebacterium diphtheriae. I spoke to Robert about the motivation behind running for the Executive Committee and his hopes for his term.

Congratulations on your election! Why did you decide to run for the Communications Representative position?

I was already a Microbiology Society Champion and was looking at ways to get more involved. When I saw that the Communications Representative position was open for nominations, I knew I had to go for it. I got the bug for science communication from my tutor at Swansea, Dr Dan Forman, who is one of those people that can make science interesting and fun to anyone! Discussing the role with you, Rebecca, and the current and former Chairs of the Forum made me really want to represent early career microbiologists.

What do you hope to achieve over your term?

The big thing I have found during my time as a student is how difficult it can be to decipher science without pre-existing knowledge. My main aim is to promote how amazing microbiology and the Society are, by looking at how we can increase opportunities for ECMs to get involved with microbiology communication.

My other aim is to work with my fellow ECM Forum Committee members to aid the Society in its efforts to support the mental health of ECMs. This is an important and well-documented issue for postgraduate students and we can build on the information already available at the Society.

Is there anything else you would like to add before I hand over the reins?

I wanted to say thank you to you Rebecca, for all that you have done over the past few years as Comms Rep! I would also like to mention the Microbiology Society Champions again; if you’re interested, Paul Easton ([email protected]), Head of Membership Services at the Society, can give you more information. Finally, thank you so much for all those who voted for me; I really appreciate it and I hope I live up to the trust you put in me!

Robert will officially begin his term in January, so if you have any questions or suggestions for him then please do get in touch. Good luck Robert!

Visit the membership area of the website to find out more about the Society Champions scheme.

Rebecca Hall

Communications Representative, ECM Forum Executive Committee