Birmingham Student Presents in Prague

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Birmingham Student Presents in Prague

Workstation Travel Grant Award

Birmingham Student Presents in Prague

Don Whitley Scientific offers a travel grant that means if you have used a Whitley Workstation in your study, you could be entitled to a grant of £250 to help you travel to a conference to present a poster/presentation.

The latest recipient of this award is Onalenna Neo, a third-year PhD student at the University of Birmingham. Onalenna is part of the Oral Microbiology Group at the School Dentistry under the college of Medical and Dental Sciences. Her work focused on understanding the role that bacteria have on the pathology and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). She performed in vitro experiments, where she investigated how the bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum attaches to and invades colon cancer cells. It is in these in vitro assays where she utilised a Whitley Workstation to culture the bacteria as they are obligate anaerobes. In addition, she also performed metagenomic and RNA sequencing analysis of CRC tumours and their paired controls to determine the bacteria that are important in CRC and to investigate which genes are differentially expressed in CRC tumours compared to controls. Her results showed that certain bacteria such as F. nucleatum and B. fragilis are enriched in CRC samples compared to controls. Furthermore, the RNA sequencing analysis revealed an association of the tetraspanin Tspan6 with certain bacteria in CRC samples. In terms of the translational benefit of her research, Onalenna believes that understanding how bacteria contribute to CRC can inform diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, which can have positive implication on survival of CRC patients.

Onalenna presented a poster and gave an oral presentation at the 10th European Conference on Tetraspanins, which was held in Prague, The Czech Republic, in September 2022. Read Onalenna’s poster here.


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