Elena Purlyte, a PhD student in Professor Dario Alessi’s lab in the MRC-PPU, has been issued with a commendation by the University Principal for her contributions to academic excellence, student representation and leadership in the School of Life Sciences.
Since starting her PhD in 2016, Elena has been an active member of the postgraduate student community in the School including as a member of the School’s postgraduate society, PiCLS. In more recent years she has stepped forward into a leadership role to represent our postgraduates and ensure their voice is heard. Elena was president of the PiCLS committee from 2018 and led the PhD student representatives for 18 months.
Examples of some of the accomplishments from the work of PiCLS under Elena’s leadership are:
- establishing the PhD representative committee
- working together with the School and specifically with Inke Nathke (as Associate Dean for Professional Culture) and Carol MacKintosh (Head of Postgraduate Studies) to update and clarify the support systems in place for PhD student well-being
- establishing the PiCLS Best Mentor award for PIs and postdocs that go the extra mile to be great mentors to their students
Elena said, "I am very honoured to receive this commendation recognising the importance of PhD student representation. It is a challenge to juggle the everyday workload of a PhD project with community work, as well as to attempt to have a healthy work and life balance, but I hope that more students will get involved in their community in the future. It is a rewarding adventure that hopefully will lead to an improved PhD student experience in the long run"
Professor Dario Alessi, Director of the MRC PPU said, “I am delighted that Elena has received this commendation from our University Principal. This is well deserved recognition. Elena is enthusiastic, ambitious and relishes on taking on responsibility, discussing science, helping others and organising events. Elena has achieved this alongside her PhD research where she has worked hard to better understand how the LRRK2 enzyme, linked to Parkinson’s disease, is regulated by another enzyme called Rab29.”