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Student at Microbiology Society Conference – Bath Spa University

Mirella Blair at the Microbiology Society Conference


BSU student puts her research under the microscope at annual Microbiology Society Conference

Tuesday, 21 May, 2024

BSc (Hons) Biology student Mirella Blair has taken her research to the next level. Earlier this year, she travelled to Edinburgh to present her research at the Microbiology Society Conference. 

Microbiology is the study of all living organisms that are too small to be visible with the naked eye, collectively known as 'microbes'. The Microbiology Society is a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects and their practical uses. It is one of the largest microbiology societies in Europe. 

During her second year of study at BSU, Mirella won a year’s membership to the Microbiology Society for achieving the highest grade in the Applied Microbiology module. Mirella then chose to do her dissertation on groups of microbes that grow together - which are called ‘biofilms’ - and her supervisor encouraged her to apply to the conference. The research that Mirella presented compares different treatments of e. coli biofilms. 

Talking about how she felt after learning she’d been chosen to present her research, Mirella said: 

“When I got the email, I was incredibly excited! Not only did it offer me an opportunity to present my research (something I love talking about), but it also allowed me to meet other students in biofilm research, as well as potential employers and educators. Creating the poster and booking accommodation made the realisation dawn on me which made me slightly more nervous, but a short break in Edinburgh and an exciting chance to expand my knowledge allowed me to switch the nervousness for enjoyment!” 

Teaching Fellow Dr Catherine Lawler, who is Mirella’s dissertation supervisor, said:  

"I am proud of Mirella for presenting her research at the Microbiology Society Conference 2024. Delegates were keen to hear from her what new strategies are being developed to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Mirella has previously won the Microbiology Society Student Prize, and her presentation at the conference has been funded by the Bath Spa University Student Opportunities Fund.” 

Mirella plans to carry on with her studies in disease-related research at postgraduate level after she graduates. In the meantime, she credits her course, BSU lecturers and her friends and colleagues with helping her attain her success so far. 

“I would like to thank my wonderful supervisor for all her support and encouragement during my entire dissertation process. I would also like to thank Gethin for his endless patience and expertise during the practical and incessant questioning. I would like to thank my best friend, Megan for always being my rock and Edinburgh tour guide. And finally, I would like to thank the Student Opportunity Fund donors for their support in my attendance at the conference.” 

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