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AMR research captured in a winning image

Kevin Egan and Prof Colin Hill, UCC School of  Microbiology & APC Microbiome Ireland

A photograph by Kevin Egan, a postgraduate student on the Peptide Protectants project, showing bacteriocin (nisin) producing colonies of Lactococcus lactis inhibiting vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), an important nosocomial (hospital acquired) superbug, has won the CommBeBiz’s 2018 Photo Competition.

Kevin Egan said: “This photo highlights the potential of the human microbiome as a source of novel antimicrobials, which can be used to fight the oncoming antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis. Supporting and funding microbiome / antimicrobial research in the future will play a key role in improving public health outcomes and decreasing the potential economic burden that AMR presents.  I am very pleased to have had my image selected as the winner of the CommBeBiz photo competition.”

Competition judge Prof. Karl Ritz, photographer and soil biology expert from the University of Nottingham, said: “Very intriguing and arresting image – this is literal bacterial illustration! Photographically perfect in the sense it is visually flawless – only the labelling on the side of the Petri dish suggests this is a photograph not a computer rendered image. In the context of the other entries, this is different, imaginative, and ultimately outstanding. As well as being a bold photograph, it is also a striking piece of graphic art that fits very well with the brief.”

This year’s competition attracted more than 75 individual photographic entries from researchers based across Europe, each capturing a unique aspect of the researcher’s work. The winning photograph and two runner-up entries were chosen by three expert judges –  Prof. Karl Ritz, Mónika Alíz Mészáros, founder and CEO of Intellexi Ltd of Hungary, and Lisa Rampton, wildlife photographer from Hampshire, UK.

The annual competition was organised by CommBeBiz to demonstrate to researchers that strong images can help communicate the relevance and impact of their bioeconomy research.

The two runners up are ‘Crystal Ball – Future of Vaccine Development’ photographed by Lauren Cresser from The Pirbright Institute, UK, and ‘The Breeding of the Perfect Crisp’ photographed by Stephen Byrne, Crops Science Department, Teagasc, Ireland.

The winner and two runners-up were each awarded a year’s subscription to the National Geographic magazine, with the winner also receiving 500 euros worth of photography equipment and a photography course.