The 2022 Don Whitley Scientific Prize for Microbiology has been awarded to top student Anum Waseem. This award is presented annually to the graduate of the University of Bradford's BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences degree who achieves the highest marks in the Microbiology option.
Anum gained a first-class honours degree while specialising in medical microbiology at Bradford and hopes to go on to achieve a master’s degree in Medical Microbiology in the future. Her five-year plan would include working in research within the field of antibiotic resistance, a hot topic at the moment.
She was able to visit Don Whitley Scientific on Tuesday 16th August for a tour around our facilities including our onsite contract laboratory, where she was able to speak with our microbiologists about her experience in the field thus far.
Anum believes the future of microbiology is in lab automation and flexible working schedules, “many microbiologists are now able to work from home as images of plates can be sent to them electronically to read and analyse.”
The most exciting project Anum worked on while on her course was a study on the correlation between reptiles and their owners becoming ill:
“I investigated people keeping reptiles as pets and the fact that the owners were getting ill. The theory was that the pet reptiles were causing it, specifically, the bacterium Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori both of which I managed to identify with the help of faecal samples from a tortoise.
API strips cannot identify Salmonella bongori - it would come up as ‘unacceptable profile. This is a problem in labs due to the possibility of misdiagnosis. I also managed to prove that the bacteria identified are resistant to antibiotics.”
The main inspiration behind her journey into microbiology is the real world problems the discipline strives to solve. This challenging environment is the key factor that has drawn Anum into the field of microbiology.
We wish Anum all the best for her future in microbiology.