School of Life Sciences success in Global Undergraduate Awards 2022

Published on 21 September 2022

Two Life Sciences students have been recognised in this year’s Global Undergraduate Awards (UA). Nicole Coutinho Garrido was named as Regional Winner (Europe) while Dana Cheung was Highly Commended.

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UA is the world’s largest academic awards programme that recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines. It is underpinned by the values of innovation, collaboration, ambition, impartiality, inclusiveness and efficiency. The Dundee students were first recognised in the top 10% of entrants in their category in their respective fields.

Read below for more information on the Dundee entrants and their submitted work:

Nicole Coutinho Garrido – Regional Winner in Psychology

BSc (Hons) Neuroscience
Class of 2022

Investigating Similarities In Brain Activation Between Early-Life Adversity Victims And Criminal Psychopaths

Psychopathy is a severe and destructive condition. Criminal psychopaths (CP) contribute to 20% of the US prison population. Research suggests that genetics and early-life adversity (E-LA) are psychopathy risk factors. I aimed to conduct the first study investigating functional similarities in CP and E-LA victims by evaluating overlapping aberrant functional responses to emotional stimuli in brain regions.

I conducted a qualitative analysis, two meta-analyses, and a contrast analysis, using Sleuth, GingerALE and Mango. I identified 17 clusters, representing overlapping activation in E-LA victims and CP fMRI scans. The results give some functional neuroimaging evidence that E-LA may contribute to psychopathy.


“It means so much to be a Regional Winner. I am incredibly honoured to have won this award for my thesis in a topic that I am so passionate about. I enjoyed every minute of producing it, so to be recognised in such a way is really special. I can’t wait to see where the future takes me.”

Nicole Coutinho Garrido

Dana Cheung – Highly Commended in Life Sciences

BSc Molecular Biology
Class of 2022

The impact of IRAK4 inhibition on B cell proliferation and class switch recombination

My research within the fields of cell signalling and immunology focused on B cells, which are specialised immune cells that defend the body against pathogens, through the secretion of antibodies. My honours project used a combination of western blotting and flow cytometry to determine the effect of inhibiting a protein called IRAK4 on these B cells. Specifically, any changes in proliferation or a process called class switch recombination, where B cells secrete antibodies that bind more strongly to antigens. Class switching is critical in mounting a strong immune response when fighting infection or after vaccination.

“I was shocked when I received the email from the Global Undergraduate Awards, as I had initially applied for the sake of applying. I had no idea that my work was seen as something commendable amongst all of the other entries. This made me even prouder of all the hard work I had put into my research.”

Dana Cheung

There was success for other students in the University with Dana Leslie named as a Global Winner in Visual Arts while Astriti Vatwani named as Regional Winner in Medical Sciences.


Press Office, University of Dundee