Dr Megan Wright recognised with ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has bestowed a prestigious award upon a University Academic Fellow at the School of Chemistry.

Dr Megan Wright has received an ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award, which recognises outstanding young investigators in the field of infectious diseases.

Winners receive a plaque, $1,000 and up to $500 in travel reimbursement to attend the Fall 2019 ACS National Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, where they present at an ACS Division of Biological Chemistry symposium.

Dr Wright studied an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences, Chemistry, during which she developed an interest in chemical biology. Her PhD at Imperial College London concerned developing a chemical approach to identifying lipidated proteins in protozoan parasites.

During her postdoctoral fellowship, she discovered that a protein sensor alerts bacteria to the presence of antimicrobial peptides and may allow them to thrive in the hostile environment of their host. Dr Wright’s research group at Leeds is now investigating this chemical approach and applying it to identify other signal-sensor interactions that mediate host-microbe communication.

Speaking to the ACS about her work, Dr Wright said:

“There is something about using chemistry to identify interactions in their native environment — to unravel the inner workings of cells and communication between cells — that really captures my imagination.

“[My lab is] just starting a new project developing probes that can label or trap proteins in specific states in living cells and with spatial and temporal control. This will allow us to start to unravel how cells integrate signals and respond to changing conditions. This is a fundamental biological question, but also one that is central to infectious disease.”