University of Dundee

CLS Early Career Researcher awarded Lister Research Prize 2011

26 May 2011

Dr. Victoria Cowling has been awarded one of three highly coveted Lister Research Prizes for 2011. These prizes which give young scientists the opportunity to develop their potential as research scientists by giving them £200,000 in flexible funding over a five-year period. The Lister Institute's approach to scientific support continues to be unique in that it funds tenured and non-tenured researchers, clinicians and non-clinicians and has no priority diseases or restrictions on the research area supported. The Institute also grants its Research Prize holders the freedom to develop their research careers individually while fostering a sense of identity and community.

Mike Ferguson, Dean of Research at the College of Life Sciences said, “This award is certainly well-deserved; the competition for the Lister Research Prizes is fierce and Vicky is to be congratulated on winning one for her highly innovative approach to fundamental cell biology and biochemistry that is highly relevant to cancer. It is also a recognition of the College’s commitment to supporting excellent early career researchers.”

The Cowling group investigates the synthesis and regulation of the mRNA methyl cap, an essential structure in gene expression. Victoria Cowling graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University with a BA in Natural Sciences and went on to do her doctoral research with Julian Downward and Gerard Evan at Cancer Research UK laboratories in London. She was a postdoctoral researcher with Michael Cole at the Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, USA and at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dartmouth College, USA. She moved to the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee in 2007. Vicky's research is focused on how genes that cause cancer affect the first stage of protein production by the body, which may pave the way for the development of novel drugs that destroy cancer cells by blocking this step.

Upon receiving news of the prize Dr. Cowling said, "I am very grateful to receive this Lister Fellowship. The funding will allow us to carry out some vital experiments.  Its really an award for the whole lab since it was the lab members' hard work which resulted in us receiving it."

As a new Prize Fellow Dr. Cowling will give a presentation to members of the Lister Institute and invited Fellows at the Scientific Meeting following the Institute’s AGM which will be held in September 2011 at Christ’s College Cambridge. The meeting will include a special Lister Lecture by Dame Bridget Ogilvie, who is currently Chair of the Lister Governing Body. Dame Bridget, formerly Director of the Wellcome Trust, was instrumental in the decision to make the £10 million donation that allowed construction of the Wellcome Trust Building in 1997.