Institute’s annual event showcases changes and achievements

Institute’s annual event showcases changes and achievements

Institute’s annual event showcases changes and achievements

Once more the Institute gathered to hold the annual Lab Talks symposium where staff showcase the exciting research and progress being made across the Institute’s activities.

Dr Simon Cook, Institute Director, described the event: “It is always a pleasure to see our community come together to showcase the fantastic work happening at the Institute. Not only do we get a chance to hear scientific updates from staff at all career levels, we also put a spotlight on key initiatives like our knowledge exchange programme and equity4success team.”

On Thursday 14th September, a poster exhibition was held for students to share their science with staff at the Institute. For each cohort posters are voted for by an expert judging panel and, introduced this year, one winner is selected by popular vote. The winners were:

First year: Second year:

1st place – Amy Wilkinson

2nd place – Ellie Griffiths

1st place – Ella Taylor

2nd place – Jake Cross

Third year: Popular vote:

1st place – Marian Jones Evans

2nd place – Priota Islam

Oishee Rhaman

Friday saw staff deliver research findings, updates on internal projects and a guest lecture from Professor Giles Yeo, University of Cambridge, titled ‘Mapping the human brain feeding circuitry using single cell and spatial approaches’.

Prize winners stood in the walled garden
2023 Prize winners

As the 2023 Sir Michael Berridge Prize winner, Tamara Chessa presented work from her paper PLEKHS1 drives PI3Ks and remodels pathway homeostasis in PTEN-null prostate. Sir Michael Berridge was a group leader at the Institute from 1990 until 2004, the prize is awarded annually to a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher for their contribution to an outstanding piece of published science.

Özge Gizlenci received the prize for best postdoc talk, she presented her work explaining the proteins involved in orchestrating alternative splicing of ribosomal proteins as a key constituent of positive selection in B cells. Updating staff on the genomics capabilities won Megan Hamilton the prize for a non-research presentation. While Amy Dashwood was presented the prize for best presentation by a PhD student for her talk ‘Novel genetic systems show feedback from CD4 T cell infiltrate in aged mouse brain shapes and selects microglia populations’.

The event also saw the announcement of the Institute’s annual prizes in research excellence, knowledge exchange and commercialisation, public engagement, supporting equity and diversity, research integrity, and creating an engaging scientific image. This year an additional prize recognising staff who go above and beyond to support their colleagues.

For more information on the annual prizes, and previous winners, can be found here.

Amy Wilkinson won the Public Engagement Prize for work bringing together artists, scientists and the public in a SciArt project and for contributions to a public dialogue project, both associated with the human Developmental Biology Initiative.

The three winners of the Award for Contributions to Research Integrity demonstrate the Institute’s organisation wide commitment to best practice and efforts to promote open and fair science for all. They were:

  • Richard Acton, Data Outputs Manager
  • Emily Watson, Research Assistant
  • Cass Flowers, Chief Information Officer

The equity4success Award went to PhD student Oishee Rahman for her work with One Million Mentors and Close the Gap to support first generation university students and postgraduates from minority backgrounds, and her role as the Ethnic Minority Welfare Officer at the Jesus College MCR. Additionally, her help designing the guidelines to support Muslim staff at the Institute and organising Ramadan events this year.

The Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Prize was presented to Rachael Walker for leadership and enthusiasm for activities across many aspects of knowledge exchange and commercialisation – from founding a spin-out company to organising the Spectral Flow Cytometry Conference.

The most popular image, chosen by staff, was ‘Gut’s feelings’ by Aurora Xu. Her image of the Drosophila gut captivated voters. It shows cells stained for DAPI (marks the nucleus in blue) and phosphorylated Mad (pMad, marked in white), which is the transcription factor that becomes phosphorylated upon Dpp (the Drosophila BMP) pathway activation. The Dpp pathway forms gradients in the fly gut to maintain its tissue patterning and homeostasis.

The five winners of the Staff Recognition Prize were:

  • Aimee Patterson, BSU Supervisor
  • Katie Mullholland, Postdoctoral Research Scientist
  • Sam Thompson, Flow Cytometry Specialist
  • Valerie Thomas, Nursery Nurse
  • Vernon Smith, BSU Supervisor

The winners were nominated by their colleagues for their impact behind the scenes, for dedicating time to helping others, and for demonstrating compassionate leadership.

Reflecting on this year’s Lab Talks, Dr Simon Cook added: “Lab Talks is a real highlight of our Institute calendar, this year was no exception. I would like to congratulate the winners of all this year’s prizes and thank our organising team, Sophie, Rahul, Susan and Bobbie.”



Honor Pollard, Communications Officer, 

Image description: Dr Tamara Chessa delivering her Sir Michael Berridge Prize talk.