Scientific minds of the future recognised by Liverpool’s public health director at Pandemic Institute’s first Student Excellence Awards

Liverpool’s Pandemic Institute hosted its first Student Excellence Awards boosting the career development opportunities of PhD students who could be at the forefront of the fight against future pandemics.  

Sponsored by Liverpool-based diagnostics and in-clinic COVID-19 testing company DAM Health, five students working in the areas of infection or diagnostics were presented with £5,000 each. The grants will enable the students to further their research by attending international conferences or take up world-leading training and development opportunities. 

The students’ projects span the breadth of antimicrobial resistance, mosquito transmitted viruses, vaccines against respiratory disease, novel approaches to pathogen detection and respiratory disease control in middle and low-income countries. 

The award recipients, who are studying at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine or Liverpool John Moores University, were presented their awards by Professor Matt Ashton, Liverpool’s director of public health.   

The ceremony, which was attended by business, civic and political leaders from across the Liverpool City Region, took place at The Spine on Paddington Village, which is located in the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool Innovation District (KQ Liverpool).  

Professor Matthew Baylis, director of the Pandemic Institute said: “We often think of pandemic preparedness in terms of new vaccines, medicines or diagnostic tests, but a big part is investing in the workforce who will develop these innovations and help combat future disease outbreaks. I am therefore delighted that DAM Health has partnered with the Pandemic Institute and given funding to enhance the training of local PhD students. We are incredibly grateful to Frank Joseph and his team, and proud of our PhD students for their great work.  

“The Student Excellence Awards event will, we hope, be the first of many as the Pandemic Institute works with local, national and international organisations to help prepare the world better for future pandemics” 

Professor Frank Joseph, medical director of DAM Health, said: “We are proud to have partnered the Pandemic Institute with the Student Excellence Awards and delighted to be supporting some of Liverpool’s most upcoming and brilliant minds in scientific and medical research with these grants.  

“All of the students are incredibly deserving because they have the potential to become key figures in the fight against possible future pandemics and wider medical diagnostics. It was fantastic to be part of the ceremony and especially to join Professor Matt Ashton and Professor Matthew Baylis to make these presentations.”  

Professor Matt Ashton, director of public health at Liverpool City Council said: “I am delighted to be able to recognise the next generation of scientific minds in the city. The work of our universities and the pandemic institute is so important so it is great to be part of this event. 

“I want to congratulate all of those who have been recognised in the first Student Excellence Award – they should be rightly proud.” 

Student Excellence Award winners include: Ryan Robinson, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Helen Savage, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Rachel Byrne, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Valeria Carini, Liverpool John Moores University; Nicola Seechurn, University of Liverpool. 

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