The prize is awarded not only on the basis of excellent grant applications, but to promising future leaders with vision; how their research ideas and contributions to date could really be key to medical advances.
Previous winners of Lister Institute Fellowships include Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys (inventor of DNA fingerprinting and one of the world’s leading geneticists) and Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University and former Chief Executive of the MRC).
The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine is a UK medical research charity that supports promising young researchers in any field of biomedical research. Five Prize Fellowships of £200,000 are awarded each year and the money may be used to support any aspect of the winner’s research activities over 5 years, other than personal salary.
This is different from standard funding models and particularly useful due to its flexibility, for example in providing for researchers in the group at the end of their grants - similar to our Bridge to the Future scheme. As well as being an extremely prestigious award, recipients also benefit from mentorship from other Fellows, for example during the annual scientific meeting for current and former Fellows.
But more importantly for Susana:
This prize is recognition of the work we are doing in the lab, of which I am really proud.
Our winner's plans
We have covered Susana's work previously to celebrate a Nature publication and MRC grant award - her focus is on the phenomenon of centrosome amplification in cancer.
Centrosomes are important to organise the “skeleton” of the cell, which allows the centrosomes to perform multiple functions; they help organise and separate out the chromosomes as one cell splits to form two new daughter cells, and allow cell movement. In cancer, cells can sometimes end up with more than the standard one or two centrosomes, which can promote genetic instability and cell invasion.
With this award, Susana hopes to investigate the effects of centrosome amplification not only within the cell, but also on surrounding cells in the tumour and what this could mean for therapy, metastasis and treatment resistance.