Image of Photograph of Dr Elizabeth Coker

Post-Doctoral Associate selected for Merck Innovation Cup

Congratulations to College Post-Doctoral Associate, Dr Elizabeth Coker, on being selected to take part in the prestigious 2020 Merck Innovation Cup. This competitive, week-long summer camp allows students and post doctoral researchers from around the world to work together on projects to improve patients’ lives.

The Merck Innovation Cup is usually held at Merck headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, but will be held online this year due to COVID-19. Participants work as part of a team to generate new ideas in the fields of oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmunity, small molecules drug discovery, protein engineering and screening, and digitalisation. They will learn to evaluate their ideas from a technical and business perspective and build a convincing business plan. Throughout the week, teams compete for monetary prizes, to be awarded by experts from Merck.

Elizabeth is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr Mathew Garnett's Translational Cancer Genomics group at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. She won her place on the course after submitting a project designed to identify new drug targets for endometriosis. This is a long-term, debilitating condition which affects around 1.5 million women in the UK, and currently has very few treatment options available. 

Talking about the course, Elizabeth said: “The Innovation Cup is an opportunity to understand how academia can work with industry to develop projects that can help improve patient experiences. My research focuses on using 'big data' to personalise cancer treatments, and I'm excited to explore how this can be applied to other diseases.”

More information about the Merck Innovation Cup, including how to enter in the future, can be found on the Merck Group website.