University of Dundee

Sarah Coulthurst wins the 2018 W H Pierce Prize

27 Jun 2018

Each year at their annual Summer Conference, the Society of Applied Microbiology (SfAM) award their prestigious W H Pierce Prize to a young microbiologist who‘s made a substantial contribution to the science of applied microbiology. This year, they are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 W H Pierce Prize is Dr Sarah Coulthurst, of the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee.

Dr Sarah Coulthurst will be attending their Summer Conference in Brighton, where she’ll give a lecture on her work entitled ‘How to kill your rivals – Type VI secretion system-mediated bacterial warfare’.

Protein secretion systems are molecular machines used by bacterial cells to translocate specific sets of proteins out of the bacterial cell, either to the extracellular milieu or directly into target cells (eukaryotic or prokaryotic. Secretion systems, and the diverse proteins that they secrete, represent key virulence factors against eukaryotic host organisms. It is increasingly becoming recognised that protein secretion systems can also be important mediators of competition between bacterial cells, with such systems delivering anti-bacterial toxins.

Sarah told SfAM: ‘I am delighted and honoured to be awarded the WH Pierce Prize. This award reflects the hard work of all the members of my group over the last nine years and the great support of all my collaborators and colleagues.’

Previous winners of the WH Pierce Prize include Jack Gilbert, Nicola Stanley-Wall and Brendan Gilmore.

The award was instituted in 1984 by the directors of Oxoid to commemorate the life and works of the late W H (Bill) Pierce, former Chief Bacteriologist of Oxo Ltd and a long-time member of the Society. Application is through nomination by Full Members of the Society only. To nominate a candidate please email in confidence to the Society Office, including a full CV of the nominee and a letter of support.

Written by Stewart Cumiskey, Press and Media Officer at the Society of Applied Microbiology