Florence Young was recognised for her PhD work in the Bullock lab linking neurodegenerative diseases to dysfunctional cell transportation
This award is named after the eminent biologist Professor Martin Raff, who was the president of the BSCB from 1992-1995, and recognises BSCB PhD students who have made outstanding contributions to the field of Cell Biology across the UK and Ireland. The Raff Medal is open to students who have submitted their PhD thesis in the past 12 months and candidates must be nominated by one of their PhD supervisors, or collaborators. Candidates are assessed on the quality and impact of their thesis research, as well as broader community engagement.
Florence was recognised for her work on links between neurodegenerative disease, specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and impairment of microtubule-related processes. She showed by combining single-molecule imaging of purified factors in vitro with genetic and imaging-based analyses in vivo that disease-associated peptides bind the unstructured tails of microtubules and prevent microtubule motors from moving along their tracks.
Throughout her PhD, Florence was a strong collaborator with a range of international scientists and clinicians. Her work in collaboration with Philip Van Damme’s group at KU Leuven in Belgium was recently published in Science Advances.
During her PhD, Florence took part in various public engagement activities including ‘Mighty Molecular Motors’ during LifeLab EU Researchers Night and ‘See Your Cells’ at Big Biology Day. She also organised numerous student networking and careers events through her role as president of the LMB Graduate Student Association, and ran two international Graduate Student Symposia. In addition, Florence embarked on an internship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology last year, learning an additional set of skills to complement her experiences in the lab during her PhD.
Before completing her PhD at the LMB, Florence was awarded a MBiochem (combined undergraduate and master’s degrees) with Honours in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in 2017.
Florence will continue to work in the Bullock lab on a short-term postdoctoral contract on the contribution of microtubule dysregulation to neurodegenerative disease. Congratulations, Florence!