Rising research star at Exeter secures prestigious Biochemical Society award

Dr Kirsty Wan

A rising research star at the University of Exeter has received a prestigious national award, it has been announced.

Dr Kirsty Wan, a Research Fellow at the Living Systems Institute (LSI) has received the Early Career Research Award from the Biochemical Society – one of just 10 scientists and researchers nationwide to be honoured in the annual award scheme.

Each year the Biochemical Society presents a series of prestigious awards that recognize excellence and achievement in both specific and general fields of science.

Candidates are nominated by their peers and the winners are agreed by a judging panel of respected scientists, from across a range of different scientific backgrounds.

Dr Wan will receive a cash prize, and deliver an award or medal lecture in 2021. She will also be invited to submit an article to one of the Society’s publications.

Dr Wan is a Senior Research Fellow and group leader at the Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter. Her main research interests concern the motile behaviour and dynamics of microorganisms, with emphasis on exploring novel interdisciplinary approaches.

She obtained her undergraduate (mathematics) and PhD degrees (biological physics) from the University of Cambridge, UK, where she was also awarded a Nevile Research Fellowship from Magdalene College (2014-2017) for her postdoctoral work. In 2019, she was the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant to begin a major new project on single-cell cognition.

Speaking of the award, Dr Wan said: “I am absolutely delighted with this news, it is a real pleasure to have been given this award from the Biochemical Society.

“This is further justification for the value of interdisciplinary research – something that was instilled in me early on by my mentors. I take this opportunity to thank my supervisor Professor Ray Goldstein who has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my career.

“I am also extremely grateful to my colleagues here at Exeter for making and shaping the LSI and cultivating a unique and stimulating working environment, and look forward to the many scientific discoveries that we will continue to make together. “

Professor Colin Bingle, Professor of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Sheffield, and Chair of the Biochemical Society’s Awards Committee, said: “Bioscientists represent an incredible community of researchers and academics that are dedicated to understanding biology at a molecular and cellular level.

“The 2021 Biochemical Society award-winners have all made significant contributions to their field of study. There is no doubt that their research is fundamental to life and of transformative relevance to health and disease.

“These individuals demonstrate a commitment to enhancing knowledge and, on behalf of the Society, I’d like to sincerely congratulate all of these winners for their hard work in the pursuit of biology.”

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