Dr Anthony Hilton has received the esteemed SfAM Communications Award for his extensive work in communicating with the media and engaging the public in applied microbiology.
Dr Hilton received the award at a ceremony held in July, having been nominated by members of SfAM and considered by the panel. When asked about his achievement, Anthony said: 'I’m delighted to receive the SfAM Communications Award which recognises my passion for communicating microbiology. At a time when the public are acutely aware of the impact of microorganisms on their daily lives, it has never been more important to ensure accurate information is communicated in an accessible way.'
Anthony has enjoyed continuous success this summer as he also won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Engagement at the Aston Excellence Awards 2009.
Hilton has become a well-known figure for his work with the media and helping encourage science and microbiology to be accessible to the general public rather than be limited to scientists and specialists. His first real taste of the world of TV was in 2006 when he featured on the popular BBC3 series ‘Grime Scene Investigation’ where he would investigate houses for signs of microbial contamination. Alongside TV presenter Rufus Hound, the show was a huge success in delivering hard hitting science mixed with comedy, leaving viewers both educated and entertained at the same time.
His role also includes working with school children to increase the education of microbiology. He told Aspects, 'I think it is important to educate children from a young age and currently within schools the teaching of basic microbiology is very limited. By visiting schools and delivering short lectures on a variety of topics, I hope to change that. The key to communication is knowing your audience and I hope to break the perception of scientists as being seen as poor communicators.' More recently, he has made authoritative comments in the press following the latest E. coli outbreaks.
Talking about featuring on TV, he said, 'I do enjoy the TV side of my job and although it is very time consuming (each episode of Grime Scene Investigation would take 3 days to film), I am open to further opportunities working in this field. I have just finished filming for the BBC’s ‘The One Show’ where I was working with Lucy Siegul looking at hygiene in the city so I look forward to that being aired.'
Finally Anthony has just been nominated for the Bioscience Federation Award by the BSF which represents all of the biological scientists in the U.K. We wish him the best of luck with this and look forward to catching him on ‘The One Show’ shortly!
Words by Munira Jasat