PhD student Kirsty’s once-in-lifetime internship

24 July 2012

PhD student Kirsty’s once-in-lifetime internship

Kirsty in the Charles Oakley lab

PhD student Kirsty Skinner has been awarded £3000 to take on an internship at a world-leading research laboratory.

Kirsty, who is in the final year of her medical Microbiology PhD, was awarded the grant by the Society for General Microbiology to fund research activity under eminent microbiologist Dr Barbara Murray, Professor and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School. She will travel to Houston in August for at least six weeks to research the activation of the stringent response in enterococcus faecalis during antimicrobial treatment.

Said Kirsty: “Dr Barbara Murray has more than 30 years’ experience and carries out amazing work in the area of enterococcal antibiotic resistance and pathogenesis. My work overlaps with research being carried out by Dr Murray’s group so I contacted her directly last July to see if she would accept me as a visitor to her laboratory to learn new molecular techniques. She was very welcoming and said that she would be delighted to help.

“I applied to several funding bodies and was thrilled to be awarded the Society for General Microbiology’s President’s Fund grant.”

Kirsty’s research will examine how an antibiotic-induced stress response called stringent activation can lead to the failure of treatment.

Added Kirsty: “I have been given a fantastic opportunity. It is overwhelming but I am thoroughly looking forward to working in a world-leading enterococcal research lab and learning techniques required for the completion of my PhD. Hopefully I will be able to pass on what I learn to the Department of Life Sciences at GCU and also develop new collaborative links between my supervisors in the UK and Dr Murray’s research group in the US.”

Senior Lecturer in Microbiology Sue Lang, who is overseeing Kirsty’s PhD work, said: “Dr Barbara Murray is a world-leading microbiologist in the field of enterococcal infections. Joining her research group will be an exciting, once-in-a lifetime opportunity for Kirsty and it will undoubtedly be highly beneficial for her future career in medical research. I have no doubt that Kirsty will be an outstanding ambassador for GCU during her research visit, helping to raise the profile of the University and the research ongoing within the Department of Life Sciences.”



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