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Two Warwick researchers awarded Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Fellowships

CSmithThe Royal Society has awarded research fellowships to two academics from the University of Warwick.

Dr Corinne Smith from the School of Life Sciences and Dr Vasilios Stavros from the Department of Chemistry and are both recipients of this year’s Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship.

They will both spend a year away from teaching, focusing on their respective research projects.

Dr Smith is a Reader in Structural Biology and Biophysics. Her group investigates the 3D structure of proteins involved in endocytosis, using cryo-electron microscopy, biophysics and mathematical modelling to understand the function of the protein complexes which drive clathrin-mediated endocytosis.

Dr Smith has undertaken the significant role of department senior tutor over the past five years, with pastoral care responsibilities for more than 200 undergraduates. Her teaching and administrative commitments have impacted on the amount of time she could spend in the lab at a time when her research was making significant developments.

This led Dr Smith to apply for a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, which relieves scientists from teaching and administrative duties in order to focus on their research for up to a year.

Dr Smith says she looks forward to the additional focus she will be able to apply to her research at a crucial stage in its development:

“This Fellowship provides a wonderful opportunity to invigorate my research at a really exciting time for our work and for the field of 3D cryo-electron microscopy as a whole. I am tremendously grateful to the very talented past and present members of my group who have contributed so much to this success and to my colleagues in Life Sciences and the Medical school for their valuable encouragement.”

“I am looking forward to spending quality time with my research team, consolidating our work for publication and developing new analytical approaches to take us closer to our goal of seeing clathrin cage complexes in atomic detail,” Dr Smith goes on to say.

StavrosDr Stavros’ research centres on understanding ‘photoprotection’ mechanisms taking place in biomolecules, which could eventually support the quest for new measures for preventing skin cancers and developing targeted drugs by ‘learning from nature’.

In effect, the group is striving to develop more effective sunscreen filter molecules or better photochemotherapy agents.

In collaboration with the Physics Department, Dr Stavros’ research group has recently been awarded funds to develop the Warwick Centre for Ultrafast Spectroscopy (WCUS), which will have a unique range of complementary laser techniques, enabling precision measurements on advanced materials.

The fellowship will provide Dr Stavros with focused time to build up research and experimental techniques within WCUS that may have the potential to impact societal challenges such as Energy and Healthcare.

Dr Stavros comments on what the fellowship means to him:

“I am delighted to have been awarded this prestigious fellowship, which is a reflection of the magnificent efforts of my past and present group – thank you Team Stavros! – and the terrific colleagues I have in Chemistry and now Physics.”

“The fellowship will give me focused time to work in WCUS, and help build an experiment to study how ultraviolet radiation interacts with molecules found in every-day life. I can’t wait!” continues Dr Stavros.


8th September 2016

Further information, contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Officer

L dot Walton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk

02476 150 868

07824 540 863