The winners of the Applied Microbiology International Horizon Awards were announced at the prestigious Environmental Microbiology lecture 2023, held at BMA House in London on November 16.
The prizes, awarded by Applied Microbiology International, celebrate the brightest minds in the field and promote the research, group, projects, products and individuals who continue to help shape the future of applied microbiology.
Dr Christopher Stewart of Newcastle University in the UK was named as this year’s winner of the WH Pierce Prize, which is presented to a scientist who has used microbiology to make a significant contribution to One Health advancements.
The primary goal of his research programme is to define how breastmilk bioactive components and the gut microbiome contribute to short- and long-term health in preterm infants.
The Rachel Carson Prize has been awarded to Dr Raquel Peixoto of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. It recognises a scientist who has used microbiology to help further our understanding of ocean biodiversity or directly in solutions that conserve and sustainably use marine resources for sustainable development.
Dr Peixoto’s pioneering research focuses on microbiome restoration and rehabilitation of coral reefs through the use of probiotics, generating the baseline data to allow the creation of the only sustainable medicine currently being considered to protect and restore the habitat.
Dr Ben Swift of the Royal Veterinary College in the UK was named as this year’s winner of the Basil Jarvis Prize, which goes to a microbiologist who has made a significant contribution to the expansive field of food safety, food fermentations and food security.
A microbiologist whose research has been focussed on the development of improved diagnostic tests for mycobacterial infections in animals and humans, Dr Swift was part of a team that has invented and commercialised a bacteriophage-based technology to rapidly detect slow growing mycobacteria responsible for diseases such as Bovine TB and Johne’s disease that cause economic and social hardship to farmers worldwide.
Dr Thomas Thompson of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland has been named as winner of the inaugural John Snow Prize, which is awarded to a scientist who has made a significant contribution to the expansive field of clean water and sanitation, such as the management of surface and groundwater contamination or human exposure to pathogens.
His work focuses on the potential of using cold plasma to improve water quality, both chemically and biologically.
The inaugural Christiana Figueres Prize has been awarded to Dr Taniya RoyChowdhury of Woodwell Climate Research Center in the US. This award recognises a scientist who has used microbiology to help further our understanding of climate change or directly in solutions that can lower greenhouse gas emissions or turn renewable resources into low-carbon and low-cost electricity, fuels, chemicals or materials.
Her work uses a multi-dimensional approach and comprehensive understanding of diverse ecosystems to provide valuable insights into the factors influencing climate vulnerability, soil health and sustainability.
Distinguished Professor Brajesh Singh of Western Sydney University was named as this year’s winner of the Dorothy Jones Prize, which is awarded to a scientist who has used microbiology to make a significant contribution to our understanding of terrestrial life, rhizospheres and soil microbiomes, or to the preservation of our global ecosystem.
A global expert in the field of microbial functional ecology at Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, he spent ten years honing his knowledge in Scotland before relocating to Australia and joining the Institute, becoming Director of the Global Centre for Land-Based Innovation in 2015.
To find out more about AMI’s Grants and Awards programme, visit https://appliedmicrobiology.org/membership-community/grants-awards.html.
Notes to editors
Applied Microbiology International (AMI) is the oldest microbiology society in the UK and with more than half of its membership outside the UK, is truly global, serving microbiologists based in universities, private industry and research institutes around the world.
AMI provides funding to encourage research and broad participation at its events and to ensure diverse voices are around the table working together to solve the sustainability development goals it has chosen to support.
AMI publishes leading industry magazine, The Microbiologist, and in partnership with Wiley and Oxford University Press, publishes six internationally acclaimed journals. It gives a voice to applied microbiologists around the world, amplifying their collective influence and informing international, evidence-based, decision making.