Manchester scientists recognised with Academy Fellowship

Two scientists from The University of Manchester have been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Judith Allen, Professor of Immunobiology and Graeme Black, Professor of Genetics and Ophthalmology and  Deputy Director, Biomedical Research Centre will join 45 other UK researchers who have been elected to the renowned body.

The Fellows have been elected for their contribution to medical research and healthcare, the generation of new knowledge in medical sciences and its translation into benefits to society.

This year’s elected Fellows have expertise that spans paediatrics, genetics, neuroscience and oncology among many.

13 of the new Fellows are women, representing 28% of the total elected in 2016. The total women in the pool of candidates was 25%.

Graeme Black said:

“It is an honour to be elected: my work focuses on understanding the molecular basis of rare inherited conditions associated with blindness and aims to improve the diagnosis, management and treatment of such conditions.

Such a recognition is a reflection of the fact that this is a scientific area that has seen huge progress over recent years, including work done in the University of Manchester and within St Mary’s and the Manchester Royal Eye Hospitals.

Consequently this also underlines the hope there is that further progress can be made, here and elsewhere, to build on such foundations.”

 

Judith Allen said

“I am honoured that the academy of medical sciences has chosen to recognise my contributions to parasite immunology and macrophage biology.

I very much looking forward to working with the academy, particularly on their efforts to support and recognise the value of teams in science.”

 

Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said:

“These new Fellows represent the amazing diversity of talent and expertise among the UK medical research community. Through their election to the  Fellowship, we recognise the outstanding contributions these individuals have made to the progress of medical science and the development of better healthcare.

“Thanks to the experience and expertise of its Fellows, the Academy can play a crucial role in addressing the great medical challenges of our time, such as maintaining health in an ageing population, the spread of non-communicable diseases and multiple morbidities.

“We work with our Fellowship to create the essential connections between academia, industry and the NHS and beyond, to strengthen biomedical research and facilitate its translation into benefits for society.

“We are delighted to welcome this year’s new Fellows to the Academy and I look forward to working with them all in the future.”

The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy at a ceremony on the 29th June 2016.

Faculty scientist wins prestigious Optometry award

The College of Optometrists is the professional, scientific and examining body for optometry in the UK, recently recognised the achievements of the most talented researchers working in the field at its annual Diploma Ceremony at the Central Hall in Westminster, London on Tuesday 10th November. Four individuals and a research team were presented with a College Research Excellence Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to vision science, eye health care and to the profession.

We are delighted to announce that Dr Hema Radhakrishnan MCOptom, received the Neil Charman Medal for Research, the most prestigious of the five awards, for her pioneering work on ocular accommodation and collagen cross linking.

She said:Picture by www.edwardmoss.co.uk All rights reserved College of optometrists  diploma awards 2015, London.

I was delighted to receive the Neil Charman medal for research. The Research Excellence Awards recognise the outstanding research that is done by College members. It was amazing to see so many excellent researchers from across the globe being handed these awards and Life Fellowships. On the day, when the streets around Westminster were lined with poppies, we had our own affirmation of how we are able to see much further in our profession by standing on the shoulders of giants.

This is the first time that the award has been made to a Manchester researcher and is the highest profile research prize in Optometry in the UK.  This award follows on from a previous research excellence award from the College of Optometrists in 2011 when Dr Radhakrishnan was given The Bernard Gilmartin award  for having the most highly regarded research paper in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, the journal of the College of Optometrists.

Student awarded SCI Scholarship

We are delighted to announce that The Faculty of Life Science’s very own James Adams, has been awarded a SCI scholarship of £5,000 to support his studies into the development of selective Phosphatase inhibitors.

SCI Scholarships are more than just financial, he will also benefit from publishing opportunities, access to a high-calibre network to help launch his career, and opportunities to present his work and raise his profile within the scientific community.

James Adam said:

“I am working on a challenging but inspirational research project that is truly multidisciplinary. This research involves the development of effective bioactive tools to dissect fundamental signalling pathways in particular those involving Phosphatases.

The funding and support offered by my SCI Scholarship will provide a valuable resource to help me pursue my studies.”

Faculty of Life Sciences awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award

The Faculty of Life Sciences are proud to announce that they have been awarded the prestigious Athena Swan Silver Award. The award was created as a way to recognise institution’s commitment to tackle gender inequality in higher education.

Equality Challenge Unit awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award to just 87 departments in the whole of the UK. The Faculty was one of only 6 departments who were able to retain their silver award from 3 years ago. In order to retain, The Faculty had to show progression in its efforts to address gender equality on both an individual and structural level. The award will last for the duration of 3 years and will promote the Faculty as a champion for gender equality.

On the value of the award, Sarah Dickinson, Head of Equality Charters at Equality Challenge Unit said:

“In an ever changing higher education landscape, we realise that participating in the charter is a significant undertaking, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate all those who participated for their demonstrable commitment to tackling gender inequality.”

Amanda Bamford, Chair of the Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team and Associate Dean for Social Responsibility, said:

“I am really thrilled with this award which recognises the efforts made across the Faculty to ensure a supportive working environment for all our staff. The award reflects an enormous amount of work and commitment to provide the most progressive and supportive environment possible for career development and work-life balance in the Faculty. We strive to develop a culture of fairness, opportunity, flexibility, and respect. We want to be a beacon in gender equality so there is no pausing in our efforts especially as are now working towards our Athena Swan Gold award!”

Hema Radhakrishnan, Deputy Associate Dean for Social Responsibility, Faculty of Life Sciences, who also took an active role in the application, said:

“We are delighted to receive the Athena SWAN Silver award which recognises the tremendous effort from the Faculty of Life Sciences towards advancing gender equality amongst staff and students. Even though we are a long way forward from the Suffragette movement, women are still more likely to be discouraged from pursuing careers in Science, Engineering and Technology. Women who do take interest in these subjects often progress in their careers at a rate that is slower than their male counterparts. Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science. This Silver award shows that we as a faculty are working hard to reduce the gender gap and the efforts taken by the faculty are benefiting women and individuals with caring responsibilities.”

The Faculty will be presented with the award at a ceremony in the coming months and will be able to proudly wear the Athena Swan Silver badge.

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Awards for Venturing Further

Two businesses that were established by Faculty Alumni have been awarded financial prizes as part of the prestigious Venture Further competition. The companies, Joy and Joe Ltd. and Metriculate won £10,000 and £2,500 respectively.

The annual competition, hosted by the Manchester Enterprise Centre, allowed students and alumni to showcase their businesses with the hope of securing financial rewards. The awards were split into four categories: business, social, digital and research. Joy and Joe won the business category for their innovative ‘kangaroo care’ carrier. The product, designed to help facilitate the kangaroo care technique in infants, has proven to be extremely popular. The all-British company was established by Olumayowa Osundeko, who finished his PhD in Biotechnology last year. He says:

“We would like to invest the £10,000 into developing our packaging, which is at the moment only really suitable for online customers and we intend to launch the product on the high street later this year. We’d also like to develop our accessory range.

We’ve gained a lot from entering Venture Further and the team at the Manchester Enterprise Centre has taught us a lot about how to present our product and howto build our brand. We’ve also gathered useful tips and trends to look out for as our business grows.”

In the digital category, second place went to Metriculate, a company that was established with the help of Mark Ashworth, who completed a PhD in Biochemistry. The company helps design intelligent lab management tools for research. The three man team are now looking at ways to use the £2,500 to further expand their business.

Award Winners