Sarah Pearsall (University of Leeds, UK) was today announced as the 2014 Eisenthal Prize winner, awarded to the highest quality student applicant for the Biochemical Society’s Summer Vacation Studentships.
Sarah recently completed her eight-week placement at the University of Leeds under the supervision of Dr Roman Tuma, working on a project entitled “Engineering of hexameric helicases to translocate specific RNA molecules”.
She was alongside a record 195 other students and supervisors who applied for the Summer Vacation Studentships, a Biochemical Society scheme to benefit students with valuable lab experience and supervisors, who gain an extra pair of hands for the summer and can play a part in introducing a future scientist to research.
Dr Roman Tuma said: “I enjoyed working as a laboratory helper in a research institute from my early days at the university and had opportunity to contribute to research projects, including writing reports and presenting results at lab meetings. Such hands-on experience played an essential role in my training.
“Now as a supervisor I enjoy giving such opportunity to motivated undergraduates like Sarah. In her project she was able to engineer a viral molecular motor into an RNA-processing molecular machine which has potential applications in fighting viral infections. The project ventures into the realm of synthetic biology and builds upon our research into virus structure and replication.
“The Biochemical Society funding gave us opportunity to quickly capitalise on our basic research and demonstrate potential use of our discoveries.”
Sarah Pearsall, the undergraduate, said the studentship was an excellent and exciting opportunity, as she had not worked alongside professional scientists before.
“This experience will help me to refine my laboratory skills and provide me with insight into innovative, cutting-edge research. I am passionate about working in the lab and aspire to be a research scientist in the future, this internship will … be incredibly rewarding to me and support my extensive third year project. “
The Eisenthal Prize is awarded in memory of Professor Robert Eisenthal, formerly of the Biology and Biochemistry Department at the University of Bath, who was a long standing and active member of the Biochemical Society. The Society instituted the Eisenthal Prize to honour his commitment to science education and wishes this prize to be a lasting mark of respect for a colleague who did so much to make the Studentship scheme so successful.
Apply for a 2015 Summer Vacation Studentship
Grants are available for stipends of £200 per week for 6 – 8 weeks, and up to £1,600 in total, to support an undergraduate student to carry out a summer lab placement. This scheme not only benefits the student as they get valuable research experience, but the supervisor also gains an extra pair of hands in the lab.
Interested students must pair up with a potential supervisor, develop a project together, and then apply for funding. Applicants (supervisors) must be members of the Biochemical Society working in a university or research institute, and apply for the grant on behalf of the student.
The deadline for the 2014 applications has now passed. The deadline for the 2015 Studentships is 11 February 2015.