School Awards Presented at SLS Review of the Year

Published on 24 January 2024

Review of the Year 2023 took place this week with the Dean, Julian Blow sharing the highlights of activity within the School from 2023.

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The winners of the annual School prizes were announced:

People's Award

The People’s Award is for positive contributions to School culture.           

Individual Award had two winners:

  • Derek Bateman (Hazardous Waste Technician in Health, Safety & Wellbeing) for his infectious enthusiasm and his ability and willingness to engage with colleagues at all levels to brighten their days. 
  • Ruth Hernandez (PhD student) for her enthusiastic organisation of events and bringing people together and for her work with PiCLS.

Team Award went to the Scottish Parasitology Partnership in Research, Innovation and Training (SPPIRIT) Committee for their ECR support, and in particular their support for colleagues at a time when covid made providing support particularly challenging. The SPPIRIT Dundee Committee is comprised of Melanie Ridgway, Josh Richards, Rebecca Edgar, Mukul Rawat, Marketa Novotna, Simona Seizova, and Mattie Pawlowic.

The Dean’s Professional Services Excellence Award 

A new award that celebrates particularly enabling contributions to Life Sciences’ School Strategy. The winner was Lindsay Davidson, Manager of the Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility in the School. Lindsay Davidson established the cutting-edge facility that provides hESC and hiPSC cell lines and all relevant reagents and techniques. This allows our scientists to study disease in physiologically relevant human tissue models. The facility is of strategic importance for recruitment and our continued leadership of our research. Lindsay has exceptional scientific skill and has shown personal dedication throughout his leadership of the facility. He regularly goes way above and beyond with what is normally expected of a colleague in his position. The panel thanks Lindsay in recognition of his exceptional dedication and contributions.

PiCLS Best Mentor Award

The PiCLS Best Mentor Award is presented to recognise a person who has proven to be great mentor to a postgraduate student. The Best Mentor was Will Farnaby from the Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation. Alejandro Brenes Murillo, a postdoctoral researcher, was named Best Postdoctoral/Technician Mentor.

Innovator of the Year

Innovator of the Year is for any member or team within SLS that demonstrably achieved scientific, technical or commercial innovation that came to fruition in 2023. 

  • Research focused award - Peter Ibrahim for Fragrow is a creative and innovative software that has the potential to be transformative for accelerating drug design.
  • Business focused award - Ricardo Moreno Ballesteros for his company GenProtex which aims to speed up drug discovery by uncovering the best targets for medical treatment.

The runner-up prize went to Mattie Pawlowic and Team for the development of a selectable marker in Cryptosporidium.

Molecular and Cellular Biology Prize

Molecular and Cellular Biology Prize is for a postgraduate student or postdoctoral researcher to recognise excellence in basic research. The winner was Joshua Peter, from Yogesh Kulathu’s lab in the MRC-PPU. This is in recognition of his work on the structure and mechanism of action of UFMylation during ribosomal translation termination. This work is a tour de force of cell biochemistry and structural biology, solving the question of how ribosomes terminate translation. 

This work stems from Joshua’s 2022 EMBO J publication where he identified the constituents of this UFMylation complex, and has led to a further 2 very high-impact publications this year, with more sure to come in the future. This is an extremely impressive record considering Joshua only began this work during his PhD in 2017, and we are sure a bright future lies ahead.

Howard Elder Prize

The Howard Elder Prize is for a postgraduate student or postdoctoral research who has published an outstanding paper in 2023, or a paper which is in press with a 2023 publication date, in an area related to cancer research. The winner was Tom Snelling, a postdoctoral researcher from Professor Sir Philip Cohen’s lab in the MRC-PPU, for his excellent paper ‘ALPK1 mutants causing ROSAH syndrome or Spiradenoma are activated by human nucleotide sugars’ published in PNAS in December 2023. 

The panel was very impressed by the logical way Tom dissected his scientific problem to uncover a molecular mechanism that has the potential to be exploited for the treatment of patients.  

Brian Cox Prize for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research

Engaged Researcher of the Year was awarded to Fred Simeons in recognition of his consistent interest and participation in engaging with the public through art projects and beyond to promote the work of the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research.

Team of the Year was awarded to the CeTPD Outreach Team. The team has engaged in an impressive number of events in 2023 including science café talks, tours, and school visits. Collectively, the team have committed a significant amount of thought and time to developing and revising new activities that share their research goals.

The Drug Discovery Unit Tuberculosis Team was Highly Commended in the Team category.

Project of the Year was awarded to the MRC-PPU’s ‘Exchanges: Inspiring Parkinson's Conversations’ for a co-created art card resource that inspires deep, meaningful exchanges between Parkinson’s researchers and people with lived experience of Parkinson’s to further increase patient involvement in our research. The panel was very impressed by the depth of engagement and the measurable positive outcomes.

Story category Awards and accolades