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PhD student wins presenting place at San Francisco conference

PhD student Emma Trantham

PhD student Emma Trantham

Press release issued: 18 April 2012

Bristol University PhD student Emma Trantham has beaten off strong competition from scientists around the world to win a presenting slot at the general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) – one of the oldest and largest organisations of its kind.

The 27-year-old will fly to San Francisco in June to deliver a talk about engaging the public with microbiology. Emma won the place after submitting her topic to an online poll, voted for by members of the Society and the general public.

The ASM is the oldest and largest single life science membership organisation in the world. Membership has grown from 59 scientists in 1899 to more than 39,000 members today, with more than one third located outside the United States.

Emma is currently in the second year of a Clinical Veterinary Science PhD and wants to use the ASM’s General Meeting as a platform to explore how best to engage the public with the world of microbiology, hopefully encouraging members of the ASM to lead outreach projects.

Her submission received 1,146 votes online and placed her in the top five entrants, which meant she was selected to present the topic in San Francisco on 19 June. Around 8,000 members of the ASM are expected to attend the General Meeting.

Emma, from Clutton in Somerset, said: “Public engagement is a topic I feel very strongly about as I believe that everyone can be engaged by science in one way or another. Sometimes those of us involved in outreach have to think a little more imaginatively to reach as wide an audience as possible.

“I was so thrilled to get the email telling me I had won a place – it’s such a fantastic opportunity.  I’m really grateful to everyone who voted for my topic and all those people who helped me spread the word about the competition.”

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