Maynooth student awarded the prestigious Best Oral Presentation Prize at the Irish Fungal Society Meeting

Jamie McGowan being awarded Best Oral Presentation Prize at the Irish Fungal Society Meeting
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 12:00

Mr Jamie McGowan BSc, a 1st year PhD student in the Department of Biology, Maynooth University was awarded the prestigious Best Oral Presentation Prize at the Irish Fungal Society Meeting which was held in Limerick Institute of Technology from 15-16 June 2017.
The international meeting was attended by over 80 Scientists and Clinicians. The winning presentation was on the topic of “Network and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Oomycete Effector Arsenal” and is based on an analysis that was recently submitted for publication where Jamie is the first author. Jamie’s analysis analysed 37 oomycete genomes and used powerful computational tools to locate, quantify and investigate the evolutionary history of genes that are linked to pathogenicity in these microorganisms. Jamie’s prize was presented to him by Professor Gary Moran of Trinity College Dublin, the current Irish Fungal Society President.
Jamie is a first class honours graduate of the Double Honours (Biology and Computer Science) BSc programme at Maynooth University (2016). He commenced his PhD studies in September 2016 under the supervision of Dr. David Fitzpatrick in the Genome Evolution Laboratory in the Department of Biology. Jamie’s work is funded by a highly competitive Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship.
The oomycetes are a class of microscopic, filamentous eukaryotes and include ecologically significant animal and plant pathogens. It is well known that oomycetes secrete large arsenals of effector proteins that degrade host cell components, manipulate host immune responses and induce necrosis, enabling parasitic colonization. Understanding the genomic basis of oomycete infection is essential to develop effective long term controls. Research in Dr. Fitzpatrick’s laboratory is directed towards identifying the genetic components associated with pathogenicity in these microorganisms. As well as analysing species that have already been identified and sequenced, the Fitzpatrick laboratory are particularly interested in emerging oomycete pathogens and are currently sequencing and analysing a number of troublesome isolates. Commenting on Jamie’s success, Dr. Fitzpatrick said “Jamie’s award is testament to the excellent work he has undertaken in the early part of his PhD project. He is an excellent student with a unique set of biocomputational skills and I am expecting to see exciting results emerge from his research in the coming years.”