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Four members of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine reached the final of STEM for Britain 2024, where they presented their research to Members of Parliament.

Four women stand smiling in front of a banner, which says "Parliament showcases Britain's future Scientists Technologies Engineers Mathematicians".

STEM for BRITAIN is a major scientific poster competition and exhibition which has been held in Parliament since 1997 and is organised by the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee.

This event is an opportunity for early career researchers to present their work and give members of both Houses of Parliament an insight into the outstanding research projects being undertaken in UK universities.

This year, four members of the MRC WIMM reached the final for the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Exhibition, with one student, Grace Meaker, winning one of five awards in the category:

Jennifer Herrmann, a DPhil student in the Hughes Group (co-supervised by Dr. Rob Beagrie), with her poster "Transcriptional Regulation of Genes Throughout the Cell Cycle". In her project, Jennifer is investigating how genes are regulated in the context of a ubiquitous process such as the cell cycle, and whether cell type-specific genetic elements - in particular, enhancers - are involved in this process.

Grace Meaker, a DPhil student in the Wilkinson Group, presented her poster "Sticky Stem Cells: How PVA Promotes Blood Stem Cell Production". Grace's project is about growing haematopoietic stem cells using PVA-based cultures to inform novel discoveries in how they are regulated.  

Grace Meaker was awarded the Physiological Society Prize for her poster. Grace said: 

"It was such an honour to have presented and discussed my work on haematopoietic stem cells with senior scientists and MPs and I am very grateful to the Physiological Society who awarded me their prize. There were so many interesting projects presented across the breadth of Biology and Biomedical Sciences and it was such a rewarding day. I'd also like to thank my supervisors Adam Wilkinson and Tom Milne for their unwavering support and expertise. It is such an exciting time to be in stem cell research and I can't wait to see how the field develops!"

Anna Rose, a Clinical Lecturer in Paediatric Oncology, also presented her poster "Beyond the Goldilocks Zone: a New Approach to Treatment of Cancer in Children and Young Adults", which discussed her project on developing new approaches to treat Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) cancers, through studying the molecular mechanisms in this cancer type. ALT cancers mainly affect children and young adults and have a very poor prognosis, so developing new treatments is an urgent area of unmet need in oncology. 

Chloe Tubman, a postdoctoral researcher in the Sauka-Spengler Group, presented her poster "Investigating the Molecular and Cellular Basis of Zebrafish Heart Regeneration". In her project, Chloe is investigating the molecular and cellular basis of zebrafish cardiomyocyte regeneration.

Speaking about the event Chloe said:

"[It] was an incredible opportunity to showcase my work in the Houses of Parliament for The Parliamentary & Scientific Committee’s event. I was also able to meet and share my work with my home MP John Healey! It was wonderful to feel that the work of early career researchers in Britain is appreciated and supported by Parliament."

Congratulations to Jennifer, Anna and Chloe for making the final, and to Grace for receiving the Physiological Society Award!

In total, thirteen early career researchers from Oxford reached the finals. Read more here: