Image of From left, PhD students Orla Woodward and Hamish Symington
From left, PhD students Orla Woodward and Hamish Symington

Prizes for Jesus scientists in Parliamentary competition

Two PhD students from Jesus - Orla Woodward (Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science) and Hamish Symington (Plant Sciences) – were awarded prizes in a Parliamentary showcase of early-career research.

They were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to present their biosciences research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the STEM for BRITAIN event on Monday 7 March.

Orla’s research explores how the brain regulates feeding behaviour to identify new drug targets for obesity treatment, while Hamish’s research is in the area of food security, identifying pollinator responses to flower shape and nectar and pollen production, with the aim of increasing crop pollination. They each presented a poster, which was judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind.

Orla received the Nutrition Society prize for the best nutrition-related research.

She said: “It is an honour to have been selected to present my research at this year’s STEM for BRITAIN event. I very much enjoyed discussing my work with politicians and scientific experts, and meeting the other early career researchers.”

Hamish received Silver in the Biology and Biomedical Sciences category of the competition.

He said: “Food security is key priority for humankind, and I’m delighted to be able to showcase my research to MPs and others who can make a real difference to UK policy.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said:

“This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. 
“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from Dyson, Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Society of Chemical Industry, the Nutrition Society, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, the Biochemical Society and IEEE UK & Ireland Section.