Skip navigation links

Nov. 13, 2023

Postdoctoral fellow wins award for Cystic Fibrosis research presentation

Micah Ferrell, a postdoctoral fellow in Chris Waters’ laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, has been awarded the first-ever Dylan Mortimer Student Travel Award during the “Celebration of Hope” event held by the Hunt for a Cure Targeting Cystic Fibrosis. The Celebration of Hope is a science and art-themed event that brings together Cystic Fibrosis stakeholders from across Michigan.

Ferrell gave a talk entitled, “The enemy of my enemy is not my friend: anti-phage defense systems as a barrier to phage therapy.” One aspect of the event that Ferrell appreciated was that the audience was made up of a variety of different participants.

"Events like the Celebration of Hope allow researchers, clinicians, patients, and advocates to share their knowledge and experiences. Getting to know our colleagues helps grow the biomedical research community at MSU and across Michigan," says Ferrell. He also felt that meeting patients and their advocates was particularly important. “It’s gratifying to know that the basic science we do will impact people’s lives.”

The award is named in honor of Dylan Mortimer, an artist with Cystic Fibrosis and the recipient of two double lung transplants. Mortimer says that his work “always aims to re-envision [his] lived experience with a genetic chronic illness.” His colorful, glittering creations are displayed all over the world, including one piece, “DNA Fireworks,” that is displayed in Room 212 of the Biochemistry building. In this piece, which consists of cut paper, paint and glitter on panel, DNA strands are transformed into shiny fireworks displays. Mortimer explains that in this artwork “hope explodes as a celebration in spite of seemingly hopeless circumstances.”

'DNA Fireworks' by Dylan Mortimer

Mortimer shared his thoughts about the recent event, saying, “The Celebration of Hope event brings together top creative and innovative minds to both celebrate what has already been discovered and to search for more. It is so inspiring to see the fight for more healing through research in both science and art.”

Micah Ferrell and Dylan Mortimer

“Dylan is such a hopeful person, and it was a real honor to receive this award,” says Ferrell.

The award recognizes the two best presentations from the day-long event and provides the recipients with funds to travel to a Cystic Fibrosis conference to present their work. Congratulations to Micah, and thank you for the Hunt for a Cure Targeting Cystic Fibrosis for supporting this award. To learn more about the Hunt for a Cure Targeting Cystic Fibrosis, please visit their website.

This story originally appeared on the College of Natural Science website.