Two LMB students, Katerina Naydenova and Vaithish Velazhahan, are amongst the 2022 winners of the CSAR PhD Students Awards
Congratulations to Katerina Naydenova and Vaithish Velazhahan, both PhD students in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, who are recognised in the 2022 Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) PhD Student Awards for Applied Research. The CSAR PhD Student Awards seek to reward outstanding research with real world application and assist students to further pursue their careers or research. This year 12 students have been awarded from more than 260 applications.
Katerina Naydenova is a PhD student in Chris Russo’s group. She first visited the LMB as a summer student, before starting her PhD after completing a BA/MSci degree in Natural Sciences (Physics) at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Her research has focused on technological improvements to electron microscopy and other imaging techniques, and in 2020 she was awarded the Perutz Student Prize. Last year, Katerina published a new method to produce specimen support grids for electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM). The new grids, made of gold, provide superior quality data and can be manufactured in a scalable way which could ease the bottleneck hindering the worldwide demand for these supports.
Vaithish Velazhahan joined Chris Tate’s group as a PhD student after obtaining dual degrees in Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology from Kansas State University. His research has led to breakthroughs in the structural understanding of fungal G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) – membrane proteins which transduce signals from a range of stimuli. In 2020 Vaithish reported the first structure of a fungal GPCR, which earned him a Perutz Student Prize. Earlier this year he built on this research, using cryo-EM analysis to determine a novel activation method for the fungal GPCR Ste2, distinct from other GPCR classes.
Congratulations also to Benjamin Tuck, who is another CSAR PhD Student Award recipient. Benjamin recently joined Patrycja Kozik’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division as a Career Development Fellow. Prior to this he received his PhD in LMB alumnus William McEwan’s group at the UK Dementia Research Institute, Cambridge, for research on tau protein spread between cells.
The recipients received their awards at a presentation ceremony on Thursday 9th July 2022.