An Edinburgh postgraduate chemistry student has enjoyed a night to remember at a glittering awards ceremony in London . because she's worth it. Third year PhD student Haimei Chen was voted 'Science Graduate of the Year' in the 2002 L'Oréal/Royal Institution Science Graduate of the Year awards which is open to young researchers in British and Irish universities who have not yet submitted their doctoral thesis. Haimei, who is part of Professor Peter Sadler's research group which is seeking to develop Ruthenium-based anti-cancer drugs, collected her award at a gala prize-giving at the Royal Insitution on 1 July.
The award, now in its third year, recognises ground-breaking research which involves risk-taking and innovation. Applications were invited from students working in the life sciences, chemistry, plant sciences and medicine. The successful candidate receives £6000 (including £1000 for travel) plus life membership of the Royal Institution. Haimei was one of seven finalists who was interviewed by a judging panel in May and invited to lecture to them on her chosen subject.
Accompanying Haimei to the awards ceremony was Dr Lesley Yellowlees, of the Department of Chemistry, who introduced the talk that Haimei was asked to give to the invited audience of guests. Haimei will show how she has incorporated new design features into ruthenium compounds that are active against a wide range of cancer cells. She has introduced special organic coats for ruthenium, and her new compounds are highly selective in targeting DNA bases via the synergistic effects of both the ruthenium and the coat.
The Dean of Science and Engineering, Professor Bill Hill, welcomed the news that Haimei had been successful: "On behalf of the University, I would like to congratulate Haimei on winning this prestigious award and wish her well in her future career. It is nice to see the excellent work which is being done at the University of Edinburgh on developments in chemistry with applications to biology and medicine being so highly recognised."