Published: 30 October 2014

Surrey lecturer scoops prestigious Society for General Microbiology prize

Dr Simon Park, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology, has been awarded the Peter Wildy Prize for outstanding work in the field of scientific communication.

Dr Park has developed a national and international reputation for using art, and collaborating with artists, to promote the understanding of microbiology. His projects include working with artist Jo Wonder to recreate a version of John Everett Millais’s painting Ophelia using pigmented bacteria, and working with artist Anne Brodie to create a ‘Bioluminescent Photobooth’, which appeared in both the Science Museum and the Royal Institution. Read more about his microbial art.

Dr Park, who recently received funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council to study the microbiology of a 300-year-old copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, said, “Over the past eight years, I have been involved in many projects that have used combinations of art and science as a novel means to stimulate learning and public engagement in microbiology.

“I am delighted to be chosen as a recipient for this national prize, and honoured to be small part of Peter Wildy’s continued influence upon microbiology education. I intend to put the prize to good use, to fund and support future art and microbiology projects.”

The Peter Wildy Prize is named after the distinguished virologist and teacher who was President of the Society for General Microbiology from 1978 to 1981. The recipient of the Prize receives £1,000 and the opportunity to publish in Microbiology Today, the Society’s quarterly magazine.  

Dr Park lectures on the Practical and Biomedical Bacteriology module undertaken by undergraduate biosciences students at Surrey. As part of the module, students ‘paint’ with coloured or glowing bacteria and analyse the germs lurking on their mobile phones.

Read more about Dr Park’s work in his blog and learn more about our programmes in the field of Biosciences and Medicine.

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