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Sue Povey, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics

It is with great sadness that we inform you of  the passing of Professor Sue Povey MD FMedSci, who was associated with UCL, within the MRC Human Biochemical Genetics Unit  and the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (and its forerunners), for most of her career.  As Emeritus Professor in Human Genetics, Sue continued her long term research interest into the study of Tuberous Sclerosis with the curation of mutation databases of the two genes responsible, TSC1 and TSC2 until only a few months ago.

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Congratulations to Dr Kerri Kinghorn who has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship

Dr Kerri Kinghorn, a UCL Excellence Fellow in the Institute of Healthy Ageing, has been awarded a five-year Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Development Fellowship. This will enable her to establish her own research group to study the ‘Endolysosomal trafficking defects in Parkinson’s disease’ using Drosophila and neuronal models.
Please join us in congratulating Dr Kinghorn for her outstanding achievement.

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Congratulations to Dr Jack Humphrey for successfully passing his viva

Please join us in congratulating Dr Jack Humphrey, MRC Clinical Neuroscience PhD student, for successfully passing his viva on 14 December. His project was jointly supervised by Dr Vincent Plagnol from the UCL Genetics Institute, Professor Adrian Isaacs, and Dr Pietro Fratta, both at the UCL Institute of Neurology.

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GEE student from the Gems lab receives funding award from Doctoral School to host the CLeanTech Challenge, a UCL-LBS initiative

Carina Kern, PhD Student in Professor David Gems lab and Scientific Chair of the CleanTech Challenge (CTC) has successfully been awarded a contribution from the UCL Doctoral School to help fund the 2019 CTC Competition. Matched funding will be contributed by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship London Business School and a small contribution was made by the Graduate Tutors from GEE.

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GEE student receives the 2018 Publisher's Award for Excellence in Systematic Research

Dr Konstantinos Angelis, a PhD student from Professor Ziheng Yang's group, has won the 2018 Publisher's Award for Excellence in Systematic Research from the Society of Systematic Biology, for his paper published in the journal Systematic Biology. The full list of recent and past winners of the award can be found on the Society of Systematic Biologists website.
The award, sponsored by Systematic Biology's publisher, is presented to the two best papers based on student research published in Systematic Biology during the previous year. The lead author must be a student at the time the research is conducted. The Publisher's Award is $US 500 and is presented at the annual meeting to the student authors. The winner is selected by a committee consisting of the President and the Editor.
Kostas graduated in 2016 and has been working with GlaxoSmithKline.

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SMB celebrates a successful PhD viva

Congratulations to Dr Xenia Spencer-Milnes, a BBSRC-funded student supervised by Professor Saul Purton for successfully defending her PhD thesis entitled "Towards engineering the microalga Chorella sorokiniana for the production of high-value oils" on 7 November.
We wish Xenia well for her future research career.

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SMB alumna receives prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award

Congratulations to Dr Lamya Al-Haj, a former PhD student in Professor Saul Purton’s group (now Assistant Professor in Molecular Biology at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman) who is the recipient of a prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Award.
Lamya is one of five laureates honoured for their contributions to the advancement of science in the Middle East region.

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The Purton group celebrates a major funding success

Professor Saul Purton (SMB) has been successful in securing major funding from the BBSRC to run a UK-wide network in algal biotechnology. The award is part of a £11 million second phase investment by BBSRC and EPSRC to support 'Networks in Biotechnology and Bioenergy' (NIBB).
The six awards aim to build capacity and capability in biologically based manufacturing processes by fostering collaboration between academic researchers, industry and other stakeholders.
The algal NIBB, called 'Algae-UK' will run for five years from 2019, and builds on the tremendous success of the phase I NIBB, PHYCONET of which Saul is the Director.

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Monitoring urban biodiversity with machine learning

A new algorithm developed by UCL academics to monitor biodiversity in urban environments could improve our understanding of how cities can best support plant and animal life.

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Another GEE PhD viva success – congratulations to Dr Filip Ruzicka!

Please join us in congratulating Dr Filip Ruzicka, London NERC DTP student supervised by Dr Max Reuter and Professor Kevin Fowler, for successfully passing his viva on 27 November.
His thesis "The genetics and evolutionary dynamics of sexually antagonistic polymorphisms in Drosophila melanogaster" was examined by Professor Göran Arnqvist (Uppsala University) and Professor Mark Thomas.

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Success in the EMBO Young Investigator Programme

We are very pleased to congratulate Alan Cheung who is among 26 life science researchers across Europe selected to become EMBO Young Investigators. Each year EMBO selects some of the very best junior group leaders in Europe to join this programme through a very competitive selection process. Congratulations also to Anthony Roberts, a Birkbeck member of the joint UCL/Birkbeck Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology who has also been selected. The EMBO Young Investigator Programme provides a wide range of benefits all aimed at helping awardees to become internationally successful research group leaders. These include many networking and leadership training opportunities.

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A Mexican cave fish may offer heart repair clues

A tiny Mexican fish that can repair its own heart may provide the key to regenerating human heart tissue, according to new research from CDB's Dr Yoshiyuki Yamamoto and colleagues at the University of Oxford.

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Congratulations to Dr Jeremy Levy

Congratulations to Dr Jeremy Levy, CoMPLEX student supervised by Dr Christophe Dessimoz and Professor Max Telford, for successfully passing his viva on 13 November. Jeremy's thesis "Computational Methods to Resolve Deep Species Phylogenies" was examined by Professor Antonis Rokas (Vanderbilt University) and Professor Richard Mott.
We wish Jeremy all the best in his future endeavours!

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Congratulations to Dr Tom Evans for successfully passing his viva

Please join us in congratulating Dr Tom Evans (Blackburn lab in CBER) who successfully passed his viva on 31 October. His thesis “Quantifying and categorising the environmental impacts of alien birds” was examined by Professor Helen Roy from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), an expert in alien species and their impacts, and Dr Seirian Sumner, from CBER, and was passed with no corrections.

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Congratulations to Dr Adam Britton

Please join us in congratulating Dr Adam Britton (Dr Julia Day lab) who successfully passed his viva on 5 November. His thesis “Assessing human impacts on Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish communities” was examined by Professor Martin Genner from University of Bristol, an expert in the evolution and ecology of cichlid fishes, and Dr Alex Pigot, GEE a Royal Society Research Fellow.
Adam is now working as a marine scientist for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). We wish him every success in his future career.

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NPP's Leonor Gonçalves nominated for the STEM Trailblazer of the Year Baton Award

Leonor Gonçalves is a STEM trailblazer who went to Oregon Health and Science University (USA) as a trainee where she learned brain electrophysiology in just one year. In 2009 she gained her PhD in Neurobiology from University of Minho and University of Helsinki (Finland). She has been a Postdoctoral Associate Researcher since 2009 at University College London (UCL; UK) where she researches brain plasticity associated with chronic pain.
The Baton Awards is the platform for recognising BAME women in Britain. The awards will celebrate BAME women of past, present and future by acknowledging Britain’s BAME pathfinders and inspiring future pioneers across diverse sectors.

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Biosciences student receives the Microbiology Society Undergraduate Prize

Congratulations to UCL Biosciences student Joe Phillips on being awarded the Microbiology Society Undergraduate Prize for outstanding academic achievement. Joe was nominated by Professor Saul Purton and the award presented by Professor Jo Santini (Lead of the Microbiology@UCL Domain).

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New cell movement process key to understanding facial malformations published in Science

The embryonic stem cells that form facial features, called neural crest cells, use an unexpected mechanism of moving from the back of the head to the front to populate the face, finds a new UCL-led study.
The researchers say their findings could help understand how facial defects form, bringing scientists one step closer to repairing craniofacial malformations in the embryo.

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How drug resistant TB evolved and spread globally

The most common form of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) originated in Europe and spread to Asia, Africa and the Americas with European explorers and colonialists, reveals a new study led by UCL and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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Congratulations to NPP's Isaac Bianco

Dr Isaac Bianco (research profile) and Dr Elena Dreosti (lab website) are part of a consortium of 13 academics and European SMEs that has been successfully awarded an EC Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Networks funding. Their “ZENITH" programme will train 15 graduate students who will undertake highly interdisciplinary systems neuroscience projects investigating sensorimotor processing. Students will work in at least two labs in two European countries and also benefit from a range of workshops, symposia and industrial internships. The programme will start in September 2019.

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CDB's Vilaiwan Fernandes receives a Wellcome-Beit Prize

We are pleased to report Dr Vilaiwan Fernandes (research profile) was awarded a Wellcome-Beit Prize of £25,000 for her research "Exploring glial roles in sculpting brain development ".
This prize is awarded to promising fellows in additional recognition of their success in obtaining a Wellcome Trust Fellowship to enable them to develop into independent researchers and leaders in their chosen fields.

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