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Congratulations to four new Fellows

Congratulations to the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre researchers who have all been awarded Fellowships to progress their research activity.

A Nowgen/ Biomedical Research Centre Research Training Fellowship has been awarded to psychology graduate Alisha Gibson. She will explore the information needs of participants of pharmacogenetic clinical trials. Her work will examine the views of adolescents, their parents, health professionals and clinical trialists and inform the development of a prototype DVD. The work will be supervised by Dr Bella Starling and Dr Fiona Ulph. Alisha has recently completed her MRes in Psychology at The University of Manchester; her dissertation addressed the factors affecting whether academics accept or reject Perceptual Control Theory.

Biomedical Research Centre Clinical Fellows Dr Emma Burkitt Wright and Dr Mary O'Driscoll have been awarded Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowships. Emma will be studing cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome (CFC), one of the genetic conditions that arises due to mutations that alter signalling through the RAS-MAPK pathway. Patients with CFC experience a wide variety of health and developmental problems including congenital heart disease, learning disabilities, epilepsy and skin problems. These occur because this pathway is important in the formation and function of many different body tissues. Better understanding of how the altered genes cause each of these effects will lead to better management and future treatments for these problems.

Mary will be studying the genetic causes of developmental brain malformations and in particular, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called Band-like Calcification and Polymicrogyria. Brain malformations such as polymicrogyria are a common cause of learning and intellectual disability and epilepsy, and are frequently found in association with other developmental brain abnormalities. The genetic contribution to these disorders is increasingly recognised and Mary will use the fellowship to explore the pathogenesis of this and other related brain malformations.

Dr Rachel Lennon, one of four Biomedical Research Centre faculty members to receive Stepping Stones Fellowships in 2009, has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship. Her research project aims to define the adhesion receptor and extracellular matrix connections which are required to establish and maintain normal podocyte function, and to consider how these connections are disrupted in disease. This could lead to the development of targeted treatment in early proteinuric kidney disease and could prevent progression to kidney failure.
If you are applying for external Fellowships, the Biomedical Research Centre's Training Team can provide mentoring and support, including reviewing applications and running practice interviews. Contact Caroline Boston for more details: caroline.boston@cmft.nhs.uk.

Planning for the 2010 NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre Fellowship scheme is currently underway, and applications will open later this year.  To find out more about professional development opportunities, please go to the Training Academy pages on our website: www.manchesterbrc.org