Grad student Morgan Alford wins CIHR Gold Award with virtual research presentation
Morgan Alford
Oct 16, 2020

Morgan Alford, a PhD student in the Hancock Lab, has received an award of excellence (Gold category) in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) National Research Poster Presentation.

Her research poster “Nitrogen metabolism intersects virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa showed the involvement of the general nitrogen regulator NtrBC in pathogenic and adaptive states of P. aeruginosa (bacteria that often cause infections in humans such as in the blood, lungs [pneumonia], or other parts of the body after surgery). Briefly, NtrBC has a role in swarming motility, biofilm formation, invasion and virulence in a high-density abscess model of infection.

“I think it goes without saying, but it was very different from a standard poster presentation,” she shares.

Due to the year’s “new normal” full of exclusively virtual events, poster presenters were asked to record a ten-minute video with help from conference IT personnel where they shared a physical poster or created a PowerPoint presentation of their poster to share remotely.

Once the presentation was complete, judges then viewed the presentation independently and asked questions to presenters in a separate session.


“There was definitely less pressure, but I was also a little disappointed to not present in real time to peers and judges. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your audience have an ‘aha’ moment.”

That ‘aha’ moment from her research may not have been seen in real time, but it allowed for recognition from both CIHR and the Gairdner Awards – where awardees are invited to exclusive networking events, including the annual Gairdner Gala in 2021.