Featured Researcher: Emmanuel Adukwu
In the first of our ‘featured researcher’ series, Dr Emmanuel Adukwu describes his experiences of being a doctoral researcher and his career highlights. Emmanuel is now working as a Lecturer at UWE in Bristol.
I recently completed my PhD in microbiology studying the physiological and genetic characteristics of community acquired infections (CAIs). This was a project funded by the Centre for Health and Wellbeing Research (CHWR) at the University of Northampton, with a grant from the Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust.
CAIs became newsworthy within the last 20 years following many years combating Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI). CAIs are acquired outside the healthcare setting and have unique risk factors and different antibiotic resistance and genetic characteristics.
Key pathogens under investigation were community acquired MRSA, Clostridium difficile and antibiotic resistant enterococcus spp. Data on the effect of essential oils on planktonic cells and biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus were published in 2012.
Outside the lab, I was fortunate to be involved with fascinating, inspiring and occasionally, energy sapping activities. One of these was my involvement with the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM). I attended several SfAM conferences and became involved with Postgraduate and Early Career Scientist (PECS) activities. In 2011, I was appointed Chair of the PECS committee and I am currently an Observer on the SfAM main executive committee.
My involvement with the PECS committee provided me with the opportunity to represent SfAM at important events, such as the live televised Voice of the Future event at House of Commons and the 2013 Parliamentary Links Day. I also volunteered for SfAM at the National Science Festival in 2012 which was an excellent way to communicate science, especially to young school children.
A major highlight during my PhD was the visit to the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Atlanta, USA in 2010, following an invitation by Dr Rodney Donlan, team leader for the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
Other important highlights included the many scholarship awards and conference grants from which I benefited. These included the Leslie Church Scholarship, University of Northampton Chancellors Fund and the SfAM President’s Scholarship. Funds from these grants enabled me present my research at major international conferences and international institutions such as Ohio State University, Ohio and Haverford College, Pennsylvania, both in the USA.
Beyond the Science, I love my football, especially Arsenal FC. I also played for the University Staff football and table tennis teams featuring at the Northampton Town Carlsberg cup and Northamptonshire Table Tennis league and cup.
I am now working as a Lecturer at UWE in Bristol. My research interests include bacterial survival mechanisms, persistence, anti-infectives, natural products, environmental health, disinfection and infection control, molecular microbiology and clinical research. I am also open to collaborating with researchers in diverse areas and continually welcome ideas for research.
As a young child, I learnt ‘Opportunity knocks but once’ and as I leave the University armed with my PhD my motto is ‘as long as I am eligible, I am capable’.