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Research excellence MHLS

2020 Winner

Dr Alerie Guzman de la Fuente

Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine

"I nominate Alerie for the research excellence prize based on her achievements in scientific publishing, research funding, building collaborations, national advisory activities and leadership. Alerie leads her own fellowship research programme as well as other projects within our group, while building and maintaining collaborations with colleagues locally and internationally (Europe and South America). Between Sep 2019-July 2020 she published 2 first author manuscripts, co-authored several papers in prestigious journals (including Cell) and submitted her first corresponding author review. She has submitted several grant applications and was Co-Investigator on a successful Wellcome multi-user equipment grant. Her international profile and esteem was recognised through invitations to speak at international conferences (e.g. ReBrain and British Society for Immunology) and appointment to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the MS Society’s Efficient Clinical Trials Platform. Her research achievements have been recognised by invitation to be a UK representative at the prestigious 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Alerie is an outstanding and incredibly productive all-rounder who consistently delivers research excellence in a multitude of ways. Her love and enthusiasm for science is contagious and her leadership has a major positive influence on her peers - driving ambition, fostering a can-do attitude and maintaining high morale."

2020 Other shortlisted postdocs

Dr Désirée Schliemann

Centre for Public Health

"Desiree Schliemann has achieved research excellence this current academic year via the dissemination of findings from a series of completed and ongoing global health studies that focus on strengthening the public health cancer care system in Malaysia. Desiree has been ambassadorial in maintaining and nurturing sets of relationships between university researchers, Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH), the National Cancer Society, Malaysia and local communities. These sets of partnership relationships have been instrumental in efforts to increase the rigour of our population-based studies by, for example, enabling access to MoH statistics to construct sampling frames and undertake probability sampling and implement quasi-experimental evaluations of our cancer programmes. Desiree has been highly industrious regarding the dissemination of findings. In addition, she has contributed to the training of five Malaysian PhD students – already one student has published two papers from her PhD work.  Desiree’s scientific scholarship is evident from her global health research papers eg she is first author of a systematic review paper and a cultural adaptation paper which together formed the development of our cancer awareness-raising programmes; and she is the first author of the two papers that report the evaluation findings about the positive impact of the programmes."

Dr Fiona Lavelle

School of Biological Sciences

"I would like to offer my wholehearted support for Fiona for the Research Excellence award. Fiona has consistently demonstrated excellence in every area of her research, becoming a leading expert in her field. She has published high impact publications with over 350 citations of her work, some of which has been picked up by local media and cited in policy documents. She has published 5 articles since September 2019, one first author, and two second authored. Over the last year, Fiona was invited as a speaker and keynote to numerous international meetings in Europe and Australia. Fiona has demonstrated the exceptional ability to develop international collaborations for her research, in both academia and industry. In addition to leading her own research in 2019-2020, she also secured ESRC Impact Acceleration funding and was invited to undertake a secondment in the Republic of Ireland. Fiona is an exceedingly dedicated researcher who perfectly embodies the passion, creativity and productivity required for research excellence, while also never failing to provide support to her colleagues. She would be an extremely worthy recipient of this prize."

Dr Laura Smyth

Centre for Public Health

"It is a pleasure to nominate Dr Laura Smyth for this research excellence award. While always keen to help others maximise their research potential, in the past year Laura has completed multiple high quality research projects, including as primary analyst leading the wet-lab and analytical workpackage for our international GENIE consortium kidney-focused research. Laura has developed two fellowship applications and helped write a 5-year program grant application, which has been submitted for funding. In 2019-2020 Laura had six abstracts invited for presentation at international conferences, with eight papers published and a further four under review. Laura has also written three book chapters, of which two were formally published in 2020 and the third will be available online shortly.

As assistant supervisor for Katie Kerr, Laura has helped Katie conduct novel rare disease research that has resulted in numerous publications, several research awards at international meetings, shared science at public meetings, and engaged with a range of stakeholders. Laura was instrumental helping prepare for an external mid-term review and site visit of our Department for the Economy – Science Foundation Ireland Investigator Partnership Award in Dec 2019, in which we ranked 4.7 out of a maximum of 5 for excellent world-leading research."

All 2020 nominees

Dr Alerie Guzman de la Fuente (Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine)

Dr Clare McKeaveney (School of Nursing and Midwifery)

Dr Connor Bamford (Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine)

Dr Désirée Schliemann (Centre for Public Health)

Dr Deva Senevirathne (Patrick G. Johnston Centre for Cancer Research)

Dr Fiona Lavelle (School of Biological Sciences)

Dr Laura Smyth (Centre for Public Health)

Dr Prabhath Piyasena (Centre for Public Health)

Dr Sinead Watson (Centre for Public Health)

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