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Prestigious award for first class Biology graduate

An aspiring researcher from Edge Hill University has been awarded The Royal Society of Biology Prize for achieving top marks in her Human Biology degree.

Katy Andrews, 37 from Skelmersdale, who graduated this week with a first class honours degree, received a certificate and 12 months membership to the Royal Society of Biology as a result of scoring the highest aggregate mark across the three years of her course.

As well as scoring top marks, Katy thoroughly enjoyed the course and embraced a number of opportunities on offer, from interning in Berlin looking at the development of 3D Human skin models and interning at Edge Hill identifying microbial species in a hyper saline environment in North West England with Dr André Antunes, to presenting her research at the British Society of Investigative Dermatology annual meeting in London.

“The course was great and it enabled me to experience a variety of scientific fields, making it easier to discover the areas I enjoy working in. All the biosciences staff have been so supportive – they even allowed me to go to additional lectures that weren’t part of my degree programme.

“When I found out I had won the award I was over the moon. All the hard work has been worth it and I couldn’t have done it without all the support from Katja and André, as well as Professor Sarah Hedtrich whose team I worked with during my internship in Berlin.”

Senior Lecturer in Biology Dr Katja Eckl, who was Katy’s personal tutor and dissertation supervisor, said:

“I am so delighted Katy was awarded with the Royal Society prize. It was such a pleasure to have her as an undergraduate dissertation project student.

“Katy is one of the very few students who never believes what you say until she has seen evidence and has read everything available and even this is often not enough (ask the library) – this is the stuff future researchers are made from.”

This isn’t the end of Katy’s Edge Hill journey however, as she’s embarking on an Mres in September titled Establishment of a new, plant-cell based mass production pipeline for protein replacement therapy for TGM1 deficient ichthyosis patients.

And what are Katy’s future aspirations?

“At the moment, I’m really enjoying investigative biomedical research,” said Katy. “The research is novel so it takes a lot of investigation to develop the testing protocols and so the outcome is completely unknown. Research is a very large and challenging learning curve, but there is always an interesting surprise just waiting to be discovered at the end. Plus it’s a nice feeling to think that your work has the potential to change a patient’s life for the better.”

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