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Daphne Jackson Fellow Dr Mswaka presents at conference

Daphne Jackson Andy Kerridge

1 Nov 2013

As reported in July, SCI is sponsoring Dr Ruramayi M Nzuma-Mswaka with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship. Dr Mswaka is working on a research project at Queen's University Belfast focused on the development of a novel phage display-immunomagnetic separation method for Campylobacter jejuni. The Food Group is acting as the primary support group for Dr Mswaka during her two-year Fellowship.

On 25 October 2013, the Daphne Jackson Trust held its annual research conference at the Royal Society in London, and as Chair of the SCI Food Group, I was delighted to be invited along to represent SCI and also get the chance to meet Dr Mswaka and other Fellows. There were around 100 attendees and we heard eight fascinating presentations by current Fellows outlining their research in areas as diverse as 'Predicting Plant Adaptation in the Face of Climate Change' to 'Understanding Nucleation and Ice Growth in Collagen Slurry'. In addition there were two dozen posters, again covering a wide spectrum of research topics (see link below).

Dr Mswaka's poster was entitled 'Generation of Novel Binders for Campylobacter jejuni Using Phage Display & Recombinant Antibody Technologies' and we talked about how her work was progressing. She was clearly enjoying the opportunity to get back to research, and was enthusiastic about her work, which seemed to be progressing well and generating interest from other researchers at Queen's.

The project's aim is to produce a faster, cheaper, simpler, specific and sensitive test for on-farm testing for C. jejuni. The current tests take three days. The UK Food Standards Agency admitted recently that its Campylobacter Strategy launched in 2009 has so far failed to reduce incidence of Campylobacter in chickens. So this work is clearly relevant and if successful will allow testing to take place closer to slaughter, with the results being used to manage the slaughter sequence to help reduce cross-contamination between infected and clear flocks.

Andy Kerridge
Chair, Food Group

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