Faculty of Medicine Dean's Prize winners

The Faculty of Medicine Dean's Prizes are awarded every year to the students who achieve the highest overall distinction grade on their Master's course. Meet a selection of those students.


Cancer Biology: Cancer Informatics Stream - Magdalena Drożdż

Magdalena Drożdż
What did you most enjoy about your course?
I enjoyed being able to tailor the course to suit my needs and interests. I also liked the intensity of the programme - by conducting two research projects in a relatively short time, I gained invaluable knowledge and set of skills. Besides science, I enjoyed the social life within the course - supportive community, monthly coffee mornings and last but not least - departmental parties. 

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
How approachable everyone is! Whenever I needed help, members of the Faculty were happy to answer my questions or discuss my scientific results. Additionally, being a Course Rep showed me how eager the Faculty and our Course Directors were to listen to students' voice and adjust the course if needed. 

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
It felt amazing! I remember the first day of our course when the organisers mentioned the Dean's Prize - I looked around the room and tried to guess who would be the receiver. I would never think it would be me, especially because I have never done any real bioinformatics before. It was a great cherry on the-most-intense-year-of-my-life cake :) 

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently doing a DPhil in Cancer Informatics in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Oxford.


Medical Robotics and Image-Guided Intervention - Libaihe Tian

What is your current role?

Libaihe TianI am currently working as a research assistant at the Hamlyn Centre to continue the research for my MRes project. I have also received a PhD offer from the University of Hong Kong, and I am very lucky to have been awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship at the same time.

What were the most beneficial things about the programme?

The focus of the programme is on academic research rather than a lecture-based programme. During my MRes study at Imperial, I learnt about the journey of an idea from generation to realisation and how to solve the problems encountered during the process. My ability to work both independently and collaboratively has been greatly enhanced, which will pave the way for my forthcoming research.

What are your main areas of interest in Medical Robotics?

MRI, as a radiation-free imaging technique, has been widely used for diagnostic and image-guided interventions in medicine. However, due to its own intrinsic nature, the presence of any metal parts can result in safety concerns, which greatly limits the scope of MR applications. My main area of interest is MR-adapted medical robotics, and it is my hope that MR will be more widely used in medical field.

What was the title of your dissertation?

Steerable Catheter for MR-Guided Endovascular Interventions

What was the most important outcome of your research?

My research investigated and evaluated a novel MR-safe catheter made by thermally drawing technique and equipped with steerable capability by incorporating control tendons and a 3D printed handle. The catheter was then successfully demonstrated in both in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. In addition, an MR-safe actuation box equipped with pneumatic motors was developed to enable a rapid switch from manual to robotic control of the catheter-handle assembly, and its basic functionality was verified experimentally.

What would you like to do next?

This programme helped me to develop and determine my desired research area. Therefore, I planned to continue my research in the field of MR-adapted medical robotics and additionally I would like to expand my experience on the translational work to really bring the results “bench to bedside”.


Patient Safety - Max Denning

What did you most enjoy about your course?
Max DenningI particularly enjoyed the diversity of perspectives that students and faculty brought to the course. Students came from clinical and non-clinical backgrounds, the public and private sector, as well as different life and career stages. Similarly, the faculty came from a range of academic disciplines and taught varied techniques to think about and solve difficult problems. This variety resulted in great class discussions and learning opportunities, especially during group projects.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
The way in which the college responded to Covid-19. Despite a huge amount of uncertainty, the college adapted quickly to the Covid-19 restrictions to ensure we had a great learning experience despite being online. The faculty also did so in a manner that was compatible with the schedules of students, many of whom were also working in clinical settings during the pandemic.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
Fantastic, albeit totally unexpected. I very much see it as a team effort thanks to the support I received throughout the course from the faculty and my dissertation supervisor.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently pursuing an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Following my MBA, I hope to move into a role where I can combine my clinical, academic and business interests to improve access to high quality, safe healthcare.


MRes Cancer Biology - Ritobrata Ghose


Ritobrata GhoseWhat did you most enjoy about your course?
The course is very well structured and offers students ample opportunity to delve deep into the real-world aspects of academic research. I was given a significant amount of freedom by the supervisors of my projects, which really allowed me to explore, innovate and produce novel approaches to tackling some of the impending questions in cancer biology.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
I have been part of the Imperial College family since my BSc. This allows me to really interact with and make the most of the wide collaborative mindset at the university. The Faculty of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and more specifically the Department of Surgery and Cancer is very well placed across various campuses to allow for interdisciplinary meetings, interactions and discussions which is a critical source of creativity and novelty in science. This, for me, has been one of the highlights of being at Imperial.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
The Dean's Prize is a great honour because I believe that it represents the calibre that anyone looking to pursue academic research should posses. I feel that receiving this award has assured me that my perception of my capabilities is not a misjudgement, and hence only motivates me to pursue my dream of academic research further.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Currently I am on a break, but soon intend on embarking on a PhD in Cancer Biology, which will allow me to expand my knowledge-base further and delve deeper into a specific subject. Hopefully through novel findings, I will be able to chalk out a subject area for me to pursue as a post-doc and team leader in the future.


Health Policy - Lindsey Mannion

Lindsey Mannion

What did you most enjoy about your course?
The Masters in Health Policy was a fantastic opportunity to hear from a wide range of guest lecturers. As well as the expertise of Imperial staff, we got to learn from think tanks, civil servants, journalists, NHS staff, NGOs and more. Their experiences were fascinating, and gave us insight into the variety offered by a career in health policy, as well as the complexities and challenges of working in this field.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
Imperial College attracts a diverse cohort of students and the university encouraged us to learn from each other. Our course had participants from across the UK health system and numerous other countries, meaning everyone had a different background in health policy and valuable contributions to make. The lecturers at Imperial always generated discussion in our lectures and seminars and asked us for our own examples. The very close ties between the university and the healthcare trust also meant that many of our lecturers had experience of delivering health policy in the NHS and used this context to bring the theories to life.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
I was very pleased to be awarded the Dean's Prize. I am really grateful to all the staff at Imperial and my dissertation supervisor for their support.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
My dissertation was on the delivery of the children's influenza vaccination in schools (an example of where health policy and education overlap). This motivated me to broaden my experience of social policy by taking up a secondment to the Department for Education, where my role is focused on policy delivery. I really enjoyed the course module on turning policy into practice so it has been a great opportunity to apply my learning from that and to see the similarities in implementing health and education policy.


MSc Surgical Innovation - Vasileios Bonatsos

Vasileios Bonatsos

What did you most enjoy about your course?
Firstly, the small size of the class and the diversity of it which created a strong sense of community and extremely supportive environment. Secondly, I also liked the choice of different optional specialty modules which meant that I could tailor my degree to my interests. Thirdly, the unique opportunity to lead my own projects in an environment of cutting-edge research. Moreover that the main focus of the course is undertaking a research project, which I have found most stimulating.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
Apart from its academic and research excellence for the great opportunities to get involved in valuable research, for its diversity and overall well structured and delivered course.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
Excitement. Respect for the faculty and those made this decision. Recognition that hard work pays off and at the same time relief that regardless of the difficulties it is worth fighting!

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently in the early years of Urology Speciality Training after completion of Foundation Programme and Core Surgical Training. I look forward to using the knowledge and research skills I acquired these two years in my future career as a Urologist and Innovator. 


MEd Surgical Education - Sarah Schimansky

What did you most enjoy about your course?
Sarah SchimanskyThe MEd really opened my mind to different aspects of Surgical Education. It has been fantastic learning from and studying with surgeons from different subspecialties and countries.

I particularly enjoyed the broad range of topics that were covered during the face-to-face seminars, lectures, and workshops. The course provided us with access to experts in different fields and unique educational opportunities such as working collaboratively with students from the Royal Academy of Music and discussing performance in high-stress environments with a fighter pilot.

On a practical level, the part-time option allowed me to complete the MEd without interrupting my surgical training.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
Everyone has been really enthusiastic about improving and advancing Surgical Education. Using their experience from different backgrounds, they have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into designing and delivering a course with surgical educators in mind. Above all, the Faculty have been very approachable and supportive throughout the course. They adjusted submission deadlines and gave us extra support throughout the pandemic that enabled us to continue learning and to achieve our best despite the new challenges we faced.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
Surprised and humbled in equal measures. Completing my Master’s project and dissertation while working in the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic was challenging. The result is really a reflection of the invaluable support and encouragement which I received from the all the Faculty, my supervisor Laura Coates and my fellow MEd students throughout. Most of all, it’s a testament to the generosity of all the study participants who volunteered their time for my research.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently continuing my specialty training in Ophthalmology at the Bristol Eye Hospital. Over the next year, I hope to publish my findings and work with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists to integrate performance-enhancing stress management skills and techniques into surgical simulation training. I also hope to attend my graduation ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall when the pandemic has eased to celebrate with my fellow course mates and Faculty!