Researcher wins Tony Trinci Award for excellence in Medical Mycology

  • April 9th 2024

A researcher hailed for her “innovative and interdisciplinary techniques” in advancing medical mycology therapies has won the 2024 Tony Trinci Award.

Dr Seána Duggan, a Clinical Mycology theme researcher based in the Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology, becomes the third winner of the award which was jointly established by the British Mycological Society and Microbiology Society to celebrate mycology and honour late Professor Trinci, who was President of both societies.

Dr Duggan’s research investigates co-infections in humans resulting from interactions between fungus Candida albicans and the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. The effect of the synergy between these two organisms has been found to result in worse diseases than a singular organism infection. Seána’s novel approach to this research aims to identify reasons for this synergy with a view to mitigating the effect in humans.

Speaking on her award, Seána said: “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.

“Working on a fungus and a bacterium places me in two separate communities, and maintaining abreast of both can be challenging. But, in 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.”

Professor Elaine Bignell, President of the British Mycological Society and Professor of Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter, 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.”

Professor Gurdyal Besra FRS, President of the Microbiology Society, 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.”


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