Carnegie Mellon University
September 21, 2022

Bridges Named a Blavatnik Awards Finalist

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Andrew Bridges, an assistant professor of biological sciences in Carnegie Mellon University's Mellon College of Science was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists.

"Receiving this honor is a tribute to the wonderful mentors who have guided me in my training," Bridges said. "A major theme of my independent career will be to create an engaging and immersive intellectual atmosphere for trainees, as my mentors have done for me."

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences announced three winners and six finalists for this year's awards, which honor postdoctoral scientists from academic research institutions across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Winners in three categories receive a $30,0000 unrestricted prize and two finalists in each category are awarded $10,000 each. This year saw 158 nominations.

The announcement came during the National Postdoctoral Association's 13th annual celebration of 2022 National Postdoc Appreciation Week, which recognizes the significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to U.S. research and discovery.

"Postdocs are the quiet force driving scientific research," said Nicholas B. Dirks, the New York Academy of Sciences' president and CEO. "Without their tireless efforts and enormous sacrifice, most of our new discoveries and inventions in science, medicine and engineering would not happen."

Bridges, who joined CMU this fall following a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, was recognized for pioneering studies on the lifecycles of bacterial biofilms. Biofilms are surface-attached, multicellular communities of bacteria that offer protection from antimicrobials and assist in the transmission of bacterial diseases. He pioneered a novel microscopy assay whereby he can visualize, in real-time, the biofilm lifecycle of V. cholerae, the bacteria that causes the global disease cholera.

By incorporating molecular and genetic techniques, Bridges identified three important steps that drive V. cholerae biofilm dispersal. These steps include signal transduction via a previously uncharacterized molecular signaling pathway, digestion of the components that hold cells together in the biofilms and bacterial locomotion. His discoveries could lead to new strategies to control biofilm dispersal with the potential to halt the spread of disease.

The 2022 Blavatnik Regional Awards Winners and Finalists will be honored at the 2022 New York Academy of Sciences Gala at Cipriani 25 Broadway on Nov, 14, 2022. Due to pandemic delays, the 2021 Blavatnik Regional Awards honorees also will be celebrated at that event.

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