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.


MRes Clinical Research (Diabetes and Obesity) - Maria Thomas

What did you most enjoy about your course? 

Maria ThomasI really enjoyed the specific pathway module week. The content was really varied and interesting and I learned a lot.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College? 

I really appreciated how helpful Fiona, the course administrator, and Aaron, the course leader, were with any queries I had about course format and deadlines.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize? 

I was really chuffed to receive the prize as it was my greatest academic acheivement. I have framed the certificate!

What are you doing now/ What do you plan on doing after graduation? 

I undertook the MRes part time whilst working on Prof Nick Oliver's diabetes research team as a Project Manager. I plan to continue to expand my career as a Project Manager in Clinical Trials and endeavour to gain my Prince2 qualification and perhaps undertake further AAT  financial training.

Any other comments

Thank you very much for my prize - I am really happy with it :)


MRes Clinical Research (Translational Medicine Pathway) - Shuyan Bao

What did you most enjoy about your course? 

Shuyan BaoThe chance to participate in translational research with friendly team members and acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge of clinical research.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College? 

There are research groups of diverse themes and quite many resources to support our learning. Also, the administration team was supportive.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize? 

I feel very lucky to receive the prize, and I’ m grateful to the course team and research team for their patient help and teaching.

What are you doing now/ What do you plan on doing after graduation? 

I’m applying for further study / a job, (most probably) still in science.


MRes Biomedical Research (EECID) - Samuel Horsfield

What did you most enjoy about your course? 

Samuel HorsfieldI enjoyed the breadth of options available for projects, and the flexibility within each project. This enabled me to follow a unique path of research that I could tailor depending on what my academic interests were, and which skills I wanted to develop.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College? 

The approachability and eagerness of all staff to help, whether they were my supervisor, members of my research group, or other members of the Faculty.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize? 

I am honoured to receive the Dean's Prize. The students on this course and across Imperial are exceptional, and so to have been awarded this prize makes me proud of my own efforts, and incredibly thankful for the time and patience my supervisors have provided to me throughout the year.

What are you doing now/ What do you plan on doing after graduation? 

I am now starting a PhD in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, continuing work started in my Master's.

 


MRes in Biomedical Research (Data Science Stream) - Mingze Gao

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Mingze GaoThe course and research projects I could choose are from various fields, thus it could suit your needs and interests. Those two research projects that I conducted are an invaluable experience for me, through which I learned lots of skills. I also enjoy the lectures and seminars this course provided.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

It's amazing and comforting that whenever you need any help, staff in the Faculty and College are always keen to help you and respond within a short period of time. I'd like to thank my supervisors, they are easy going, care about my research progress, and always happy to discuss my research work or daily life.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

It's just amazing and totally unexpected. I'd like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I am currently doing a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics at the University of Hong Kong.


MRes in Biomedical Research (Microbiome in Health & Disease) - Gina Wren

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Gina WrenI thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to plan, manage and execute two independent research projects. For the first time in my academic career I was given a large amount of freedom to shape the direction of my own research. This allowed me to tailor the projects to suit my interests and to formulate novel approaches to tackling some of the biggest challenges in my field. As a result, I am due to submit a paper for publication based on one of my projects, which is very exciting!

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

One of the best parts about the College is the chance to work with internationally renowned academics. I felt very privileged to receive guidance and feedback from people who were experts in their field. What I found really awe-inspiring was working on a particular method or computer software and finding out that someone in the Faculty was the person who developed it!

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

Shocked and proud! Shocked as I had to rapidly learn how to code for one of my projects (I didn’t even know which button to press to import my data when I first started out!) and proud as I felt like all the hard work I’d put in this year had paid off.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Currently I am continuing at Imperial College as a Research Assistant in the group I did one of my projects in. I am also exploring both PhD and job options to start in the coming year.

Any other comments

I would like to extend a massive thank you to my supervisors and course organisers. There were points this year when I didn’t even know if I would make it to the end of the course given all the COVID-19 uncertainty. The course was rapidly adapted to become remote and there was lots of support offered by the faulty throughout. A massive thank you to all involved!


MRes in Biomedical Research (Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infection stream) - Ana Choi

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Ana ChoiThe fantastic practical knowledge and experience gained, and working with wonderful colleagues.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

Their incredible support throughout the degree, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

Very honoured and humbled.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

PhD at Institut Pasteur Paris.


MRes in Biomedical Research (Molecular Basis of Human Disease) - Saira Sakalaš

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Saira SakalašAs my degree was Master of Research (MRes), I really enjoyed 'learning by doing'. Although I liked studying and learning about science during my undergraduate degree, it felt incredible to do science on my own and be the first person to have an answer to the research question of interest.

With the expertise of my supervisors and the support from the management of the course, every day felt like getting one step closer to becoming a scientist who will independently be able to discover the fundamentals of biomedical phenomena.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

I appreciated the networking opportunities I had access to and a closer professor-student relationship. 

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

Receiving the Dean's Prize was delightful, a great achievement and an honour.

The learning journey during my degree was rather an oscillatory function between successful and less successful moments. Knowing that my work has been recognized and acknowledged by the Faculty really embarrassed the entire journey during the past year and left me feeling even more happy and confident about my choice to stay in science.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

At the moment I am doing my PhD degree at the Institue of Cancer Research in London in the Structural biology of Cell Signalling group (Guettler's lab).


MRes in Biomedical Research (APMIC Stream) - Laptin Ho

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Laptin HoI enjoyed every part of the course. It was well structured with a very strong focus on research work. I was able to take both a laboratory focused project and then a data and computer based project (due to COVID restrictions). This turned out to be quite a good combination and I'm definitely more comfortable working with and analysing bigger datasets now. There were weekly seminars or lectures that complimented the research aspect of the course well because you were able to hear about the latest ideas and developments in other areas of biomedical sciences.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

The faculty and college were very approachable. This made it very easy to discuss and develop new ideas with various contributors around the college, and also made this course very flexible depending how your project leads you! The course coordinators and supervisors provided great support throughout and were very interested to hear about the student's views to improve the course experience.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

It was quite unexpected! Many thanks to my supervisors and my lab group who supported me throughout the year.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I'm currently in specialty training in the intensive care unit. This year did change how I saw basic science and clinical medicine interact and I do hope to be able to spend more time in research in the future.


MRes in Biomedical Research - Megan Barnes

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Megan BarnesThe diversity in the core classes and the flexibility of the projects. Being able to choose from a huge list of supervisors and their respective projects meant I could cater my laboratory experience to what I wanted to learn throughout the year.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

There were plenty of opportunities to seek guidance on PhD applications from the Faculty, in the form of seminars and panel discussions. Networking was also very easy too.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

It was such an honor, and an amazing feeling given the sudden change in circumstances due to Covid. I definitely have my supervisors and their teams to thank for this too.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I started my BBSRC-funded PhD at Imperial in October 2020, within the NHLI. The aim of my project is to investigate the early-life immune response to respiratory viruses using transcriptomics. This MRes provided me the knowledge and practical skills to start the next chapter of my academic career with confidence.


MSc Applied Genomics - Catherine Chahrour

What did you most enjoy about your course?

Catherine ChahrourThe highlight of this course has been my research project. The taught modules prepared me with the knowledge and skills to make the most of this wonderful opportunity. My supervisors were incredibly supportive while challenging me to continuously improve as a researcher.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?

The Faculty being active researchers added depth and interest to each lecture. I felt extremely well supported throughout, from the course team as well as the College in general.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

Receiving the Dean's Prize is such an honour, it was such a joy to be recognised for my hard work throughout the course. I also felt immense gratitude for the support and mentoring I received during the course.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Since completing I have secured a role as a bioinformatician at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences. 


Reproductive and Developmental Biology - Ellie Gilbert

What did you most enjoy about your course? 

 Ellie GilbertThe small size of the course really made my experience. I enjoyed being able to get to know everyone so well, lecturers and fellow students alike.

The subject is also just fascinating. I was certainly never bored while carrying out my assignments!

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College? 

The opportunity to work in a top class research group! Though my lab time was cut short by COVID, the couple of weeks I spent in the lab were fantastic and the research group kept me very much involved while working from home.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

It felt good, I can’t lie. Very nice to be rewarded for all the hard work!

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I’m sorry to say that I’ve had a change of tack and I’m now working as a consultant in forensic accounting. My interest in Reproductive and Developmental Biology lives on though, I promise!


MSc Human Molecular Genetics - Claudia Sanchez Cabanillas

What did you most enjoy about your course? 

Claudia Sanchez CabanillasMy course in Human Molecular Genetics allowed me to explore the newest research in the field. I really enjoyed the variety and the depth of the course, ranging from clinical genetics to population genomics. For instance, we benefited from a week at a hospital to grasp the role of clinical geneticist at its frontline, but we also learned key molecular biology skills in the lab, including Next-Generation sequencing. I particularly enjoyed the dry lab lessons on bioinformatics which were the foundation to undergo my own research for my master's project.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College? 

The aspect I appreciated the most about the MSc in Human Molecular genetics was the proximity of the academic staff, and the close tutorship throughout the course. Everyone was very approachable, and students and academics were in constant contact through course events and talks organised by the Faculty. The computational and laboratory facilities were also cutting edge, which I found very valuable for my career development.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?

Receiving the Dean's Prize has felt very rewarding after all the time and effort I have put into the course. I am incredibly happy to have gotten this far and it motivates me very much to face future challenges.

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I am currently working at Imperial College as a Research Technician in Cebola lab. My plan is to start a PhD after this year.