Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Red hot chilli worms by Laetitia Chauve

Impact Prizes

Each year, scientists from across the Institute come together for the annual Lab Talks symposium. As part of the event, the Institute presents several prizes in recognition of key successes over the past year.

The Sir Michael Berridge Prize celebrates the contributions of a PhD student or Postdoc to an outstanding piece of published research, whilst the Knowledge Exchange & Commercialisation and Public Engagement Prizes are presented to scientists that have gone above and beyond to maximise the impact of their work. The prizewinners are selected by judging panels including both internal and external representatives. Finally, the Image Prize for the best research image of the year is selected by a popular vote including all Institute members.

Sir Michael Berridge Prize

2018 Winner


This year, the Institute was delighted to award the Sir Michael Berridge Prize to Matthew White. The prize is awarded for his contributions to research creating and using a mouse model to learn more about the molecular biology of motor neuron disease, specifically a type known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD). This research was published in the leading neuroscience journal Nature Neuroscience earlier this year and the paper describes the creation and detailed analysis of a mouse model which replicates the human occurrence of the disease as closely as possible. The paper reports a possible new link between certain dementia-related proteins and ALS-FTD and suggests some possible new treatment approaches. Matthew is now based at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King’s College London.

Previous Years

Visit the Sir Michael Berridge Prize page to read about previous winners and nominees.

Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Prize

The Babraham Institute’s Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Prize recognises an individual or team who have contributed to the Institute's KEC activities, demonstrating their passion for generating impact and transferring their knowledge.

2018 Winner

This year's winner is Luke Mercer from the Biological Support Unit. He has recently invented an elegantly simple cardboard and fabric device to enrich the environment of laboratory mice. The invention has been developed by Datesand Ltd. and will soon be helping to enrich the lives of mice in facilities worldwide. The judges noted the high-level of innovation and initiative shown by Luke in addressing a widespread problem in his area.

As part of ensuring good animal welfare, facilities worldwide provide enrichment for their animals, whichare typically things that the animals find interesting, entertaining and useful in their daily lives. Luke’s device is entirely biodegradable and is designed to be slowly shredded by the mice, allowing them to use their teeth and claws while providing themselves with new bedding material. The innovative design makes the device adaptable to different facilities and by suspending it from the top of the cages ensures that it remains clean and can be easily replaced. Its compact size and shape, as well as its light weight, make it easy, cheap and environmentally friendly to transport and store.

See Luke's prize-winning device in use in this video from Datesand Ltd.:

2018 Nominees


Rebecca Roberts from the Flow Cytometry Facility was nominated for her outstanding commitment to KEC in the Facility while providing maternity cover for the Facility Head. She has provided high-quality flow cytometry training to numerous users both within and outside the Institute, organised regular meetings around the Facility’s research, communicated on Flow Cytometry to non-specialist audience. Rebecca's extensive work with external partners enabled continuity and improvements to the world-class service the Facility offers, with the Facility additionally benefiting from an increased income resulting from the enhanced interactions with third parties.

Previous Years

Visit the KEC award page to read about previous winners and nominees.


Public Engagement (PE) Prize

The Babraham Institute's Public Engagement Prize recognises an individual or team who have contributed to the Institute's public engagement and science communication activities, demonstrating their passion for science and enthusiasm and commitment to inspiring generations.

2018 Winners



Csilla Varnai (l) and Mikhail Spivakov (r) worked with musician and music producer Max Cooper and visual artist and mathematician Andy Lomas, to produce an emotive new way to experience the complexity and elegance of DNA organisation. Taking data and inspiration from Csilla’s work, Max created two music tracks - ‘Chromos’ and ‘Coils of Living Synthesis’ - and devised a visual to complement the tracks and a Virtual Reality experience which allows people to climb inside the data.

StefanIn addition to the music being released on an EP and incorporated into Max’s worldwide shows, Csilla, Mikhail and Stefan Schoenfelder (l) presented the work at the Cambridge Science Festival and Science Museum Lates, and the work is currently on display at the ZKM, Karlsruche, Germany until January 2019. This work required additional input from the team; developing and giving presentations and producing extended explanation content (in English and German), and exhibit hardware for the showcases.

2018 Nominees

  • Boo Virk, Alex Harvey and Dorottya Horkai, for supporting primary and secondary school outreach, science festivals and notably for developing and delivering new ‘Technasium’ challenge projects relating to their research/facility for the Institute’s partnership with a school in the Netherlands.
  • Carolyn Rogers and Elizabeth Hampson, for devising and delivering new projects for Cambridge Launchpad, which saw Year 8 students at three local secondary schools investigating DNA extraction and winning teams spending a day in our labs.

Previous Years

Visit the PE award page to read about previous winners and nominees.


Image Prize

Each year members of the Institute can put forward images for the Imaging Prize, usually created using the Institute's Imaging Facility.
The winner is selected by everyone in the Institute through a public vote.

2018 Winner

Laetitia wormsThis year's winning image is by Laetitia Chauve and shows C. elegans worms labelled with a fluorescent protein and imaged using a confocal microscope. C. elegans is a really useful system for our research because we can monitor fluorescent reporters of gene expression in vivo and study inter-individual variability in stress response gene expression in isogenic individuals.

The Image was produced with the help of Simon Walker in the Institute's Imaging facility.

Previous Years

Visit the Image award page to read about previous winners and nominees.