Tony Trinci Award 2024

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The Microbiology Society, together with the British Mycological Society, is delighted to announce Dr Seána Duggan of the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter, UK, as the winner of the 2024 Tony Trinci Award.BMS Logo & Legend.jpg

Seána will give her award presentation, ‘A Copper Economy Underlies Synergy of Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus Dual-Species Biofilms’ at the Microbiology Society’s Annual Conference, which will be held from 8 – 11 April 2024 in Edinburgh.

Seana Duggan 1.jpgDr Seána Duggan obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Technical University Dublin, Ireland before beginning her academic career as a fellow of the Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC) with doctoral research at the Leibniz Hans-Knöll Institute, the Centre for Innovation Competence Septomics and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. There, her work investigated the transcriptional landscape of the medically important yeast Candida glabrata, and the innate cellular immune response to C. glabrata infection. Following her PhD, Seána took a career break working in academic publishing. Despite developing a passion for science communication and open access, Seána missed the lab bench and the thrill of discovery and returned to academia as a post-doctoral researcher working on bacterial cell wall biology and virulence with a focus on Staphylococcus aureus at the University of Bristol. In 2022, Seána began independent research at the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter. Her research investigates interactions of Candida albicans with S. aureus in the context of human infection. Co-infections caused by these two organisms result in worse disease compared to mono-infections due to their synergistic interaction. Seána aims to define novel drivers of this synergy with a view to mitigation. She interrogates fungal-bacterial-human cell cultures with omics coupled to phenotypic, microscopic and infection assays. In the future, she hopes her work will have translational impact in clinical settings. In addition to research, Seána is co-Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Access Microbiology where she can continue to contribute to open science dissemination.

Dr Duggan said of the award: “I’m honoured and humbled to receive this award. Professor Trinci’s work was foundational to the mycology field, and to be selected for an award in his name, along with the previous winners, is an immense honour. My research spans fungi and bacteria – both key interests of the Microbiology Society and British Mycology Society, respectively. It is therefore particularly meaningful to have this work acknowledged in an award that bridges the two societies.

"Working on a fungus and a bacterium places me in two separate communities, and maintaining abreast of both can be challenging. But, in both my science and my career I’ve gained a lot from casting my net wide. Much like the synergistic interaction of C. albicans and S. aureus, the union of communities can yield benefits for us all. There are so many wonderful discoveries to make in the realms where fields meet, and this award is recognition of that. I hope this can be an encouragement to read, discuss or collaborate outside scientific comfort zones and break down barriers between fields. Finally, I’d like to share the honour of this award with my mentors and colleagues who’ve supported and championed me in my professional career."

President of the British Mycological Society, Professor Elaine Bignell said: “This joint Award from the British Mycological Society and the Microbiology Society recognises excellent microbiology, the cornerstone of Tony Trinci’s enormous contribution to mycological research. Seána’s research on Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus draws upon genetic, proteomic, and state-of-the-art bioimaging tools to shed new light upon microbial interactions that underpin poor outcomes of human infectious disease. The power of her interdisciplinary approach, and vision to exploit her findings to advance the discovery of new therapies, makes her a truly deserving winner of this Award.”

President of the Microbiology Society, Professor Gurdyal Besra FRS said: “Seána’s exceptional work reflects why we created the Tony Trinci Award with the British Mycological Society, which celebrates outstanding mycology and investigative work. I am delighted the Award has gone to such a fantastic winner.”

The British Mycological Society and Microbiology Society Tony Trinci Award is presented annually to celebrate excellent mycology.

The British Mycological Society was founded 125 years ago to promote the scientific study of fungi and has since grown to be one of the major mycological societies in the world. The Society is committed to promoting cutting-edge scientific research, fungal conservation and species recording and the provision of educational resources. As a charity and membership body, the Society is open to all who are interested in supporting, promoting and studying the diverse and fascinating fungal kingdom.

The Microbiology Society is a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects and their practical uses. It has a worldwide membership based in universities, industry, hospitals, research institutes, schools and other organisations. Our members have a unique depth and breadth of knowledge about the discipline. The Society’s role is to help unlock and harness the potential of that knowledge. 

Dr Duggan will present her talk ‘A Copper Economy Underlies Synergy of Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus Dual-Species Biofilms’ at the Infection Forum on Tuesday 9 April at 16.00 as part of the Microbiology Society Annual Conference at the EICC.


Read more about Seána's research here