Reflecting on 2020’s successful Summer Studentships

This year, the Lister Institute awarded 38 Summer Studentships to help support the biomedical scientists of the future. This scheme supports undergraduate students to carry out summer research projects with Fellows and former Fellows.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only nine Studentships were able to go ahead, running remotely. We are delighted to have been able to support these students during a difficult time.Dr Serge Mostowy and his student, Olivia Nisha Maud Hill, were awarded one of the new joint Studentships with the Microbiology Society. Olivia worked with the Mostowy lab to develop an automated approach for analysing images of zebrafish larvae infected with antibiotic-resistant Shigella using a novel high-throughput/high-content microscope.

“Working with Olivia was a great pleasure,” said Dr Mostowy. “Although her internship was performed remotely, Olivia continuously demonstrated great interest and excitement in her project. These experiences as a Lister summer student will be of great value for Olivia’s future career in science, and I look forward to following her progress.”

“I felt very able to integrate with the friendly Mostowy lab, attending weekly lab meetings and journal clubs via Zoom for the duration of my studentship,” said Olivia. “The immediacy and quality of the support provided by my colleagues was incredibly helpful. I am extremely grateful to the Mostowy lab for providing me with this amazing experience and would recommend the studentship to anybody interested in pursuing a career in research.”

Professor Dino Giussani welcomed student Anna Cochrane into his lab at the University of Cambridge where she assessed the effects of gestational intermittent hypoxia on embryonic cardiac function and growth. “The Lister Institute Summer Studentships are indispensable, as they allow highly able science undergraduate students to experience ‘the real flavours’ of science,” says Prof. Giussani. “There is no greater academic joy than sharing the feeling of fresh scientific discovery with a student.”

Anna says: “A summer placement is a great opportunity to develop your interests and provide direction for future research. I had the chance to experience day-to-day life in the lab and get to know a group of inspiring scientists and technicians, even though everything was happening a little differently due to COVID-19 restrictions. My experience with Professor Giussani has solidified my decision to embark on a career in medical physiology research.”

Professor Stephen Perkins welcomed Weining Lin. “The Lister Summer Studentship offered a great opportunity for Weining to learn about websites and acquire transferable skills in developing these, all in the context of biomedicine,” says Prof. Perkins. “Her work was used to upgrade our interactive human coagulation Factor XI database, which will go live in early 2021 and be a valuable resource for basic and clinical scientists as well as those who work in haemophilia clinics. We will present double the number of known FXI variants that were known in 2009, as well as performing detailed protein structural and phenotype analyses on these variants.”

In this year’s other Studentships:

  • Aida Hassan worked with Professor Anne Straube to investigate cargo transport on dynamic microtubule ends
  • Huijie Yuan worked with Professor Daan van Aalten on a bioinformatic approach to understand how O-GlcNAc transferase mutations lead to intellectual disability
  • Callum Bucklow worked with Dr Fiona Wardle to map genomics datasets and identify Mesp-bound enhancer regions in vertebrates
  • Katie Byrne worked with Professor Keith R Fox to analyse luciferase expression data from plasmids containing the c-kit promoter, that contained mutations in the main quadruplex-forming regions
  • Hendrik Vogt worked in Professor Wolf Reik’s lab to study early developmental transcriptional programs in human stem cells in vitro. Most of this work was completed in the lab, in accordance with the government and the Institute’s COVID-19 guidelines
  • Ilinca Patrascan worked with Dr Rahul Roychoudhuri to explore the role of Rho-GTPases in the signalling pathways of T cells

2021 Studentship applications

We will award up to 50 Summer Studentships for 2021, with the hope that by the summer a larger number of laboratory and computer-based studentships can go ahead.

Any current or former Fellow of the Lister Institute is eligible to apply. If you receive a Studentship, your institution will receive £2,350 to support a student project within your lab for 6 to 10 weeks.

If you would like to be considered for this funding, there are just a few spaces remaining. Please contact Nicola King if you are interested.

For more information, please visit our webpage about Summer Studentships.