School of Biosciences

Prof Cath Rees wins Translational Microbial Prize 2024


Congratulations to Profressor Catherine Rees, winner of the Translational Microbiology Prize 2024 from the Microbiology Society.

Cath was awarded the prize for her significant contribution to translational microbiology and delivered a lecture on ‘The challenge of developing phage-based assay to detect Mycobacteria’ at the recent conference this week Microbio 24.

Cath's work is translational work has been related to developing new methods for detecting mycobacteria, such as the bacteria which cause tuberculosis (TB). Most disease-causing bacteria can be grown up and identified quickly. However mycobacteria can take up to 18 weeks to grow in the lab. To work around this, diagnostic tests for TB have always assessed whether a patient’s immune system has been exposed to TB, instead of directly detecting the disease-causing bacteria. The problem with these tests is that vaccinated individuals will also test positive for TB, and they also tell us nothing about what the bacteria are doing inside the patient. The basic purpose of this project has therefore been to develop a method to detect these mycobacteria without having to spend three months growing them in a labMy other passion in life is bacteriophages – viruses that infect bacteria – and finding ways to utilize their specificity. The culmination of this work has been developing a new diagnostic test which uses phage to specifically detect mycobacteria in blood.

You can read more about the prize and Cath's work on the Microbiology Society website.

Posted on Thursday 9th May 2024

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