Head of College Scholars List Scheme

Head of College Scholars List Scheme




The Head of College Scholars’ List Scheme was founded in 2012 by Prof. Anna Dominiczak, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. The 'Scholars’ List' Scheme is aimed at recognizing outstanding undergraduate Level 2 and Level 3 scholars from across all areas of the College including medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and life sciences (see 'History/Background' tab).  Students who are placed in the top 10% of their class in assessments in the previous year and who take an active part in the associated extracurricular scheme will be added to the Scholars List, an achievement that will be noted on their Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR).

The Scholars’ List Scheme is intended as an extracurricular vehicle to foster the next generation of biomedical researchers. It is intended to stimulate awareness of modern biomedical research and to expose students to the reality, excitement and challenge of research. All students placing in the top 10% of their cohort in Level 1 and Level 2 will be invited to take part in a number of collective and small group events aimed at exposing them to cutting edge biomedical research underway at the University of Glasgow (see 'Events' tab).

A cornerstone of modern biomedical research is its interdisciplinary nature: methods, approaches, collaborators are chosen on the basis of their appropriateness to address the question at hand, and are not restricted by narrow or even broad disciplinary constraints.  Indeed, the broad and integrated nature of the College reflects the importance of interdisciplinarity in modern research. To help foster an interdisciplinary mindset in the next generation of researchers, the Scholars List Scheme will involve mixing groups of students from across the College and exposing them to the breath of research from across the College (see 'Recent Research Highlights' tab).

Finally, some funds have been put aside to support students undertaking short Summer Research placements. The number of funded placements will be limited. Students and mentors will have the opportunity to apply and compete for placements which will be allocated on the basis of merit and strength of proposal (see 'Events' tab).

Recent Research Highlights


Recent Research Highlights from Across MVLS

Nutritionally balanced pizza

Professor Mike Lean, Chair of Nutrition in the School of Medicine, has joined forces with Donnie MacLean, founder and managing director of Eat Balanced food company, to create what they believe is the world's first nutritionally-balanced pizza. The project between Professor Lean, Dr Emilie Combet-Aspray and Mr MacLean was supported by a £5,000 'First Step Award' from the University of Glasgow, including £2,000 from the Scottish Government. The University's £2.3 million First Step Award Scheme is aimed at stimulating academic and industrial engagement. Professor Mike Lean and Donnie Maclean, founder and managing director of food company Eat Balanced, created the pizza after analyzing existing pizzas and finding them to be nutritionally lacking. Further information can be found on the University website.

BBSRC funds Food Security research at Glasgow

Most species on earth are insects, so it is inevitable that they impinge on food security and animal health in both positive and negative ways. Two recent grants from the BBSRC allow researchers in the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology to identify targets for new, more selective and thus ‘greener’ insecticides.

Although humans run their guts at a highly acidic pH, several important orders of insect – notably the biting flies and caterpillar crop pests – have evolved the exact opposite strategy, and their guts can exceed pH 12 (the same as oven cleaner!). For one of the grants, Professors Julian Dow & Shireen Davies, with Dr Pawel Herzyk, will identify the mechanism that underlies this remarkable piece of biology, and to screen for compounds that target the process. If successful, the work could lead to insecticides that target major agricultural pests or vectors of animal and human disease, while sparing other insects – notably bees, which are vital pollinators around the world.
Julian Dow explains “We have a dual strategy. One strand is to genetically target the major transport processes we already know about, to find out if any of them play a role in alkalinisation. The other strategy is to use the University’s excellent Polyomics facility to profile gene expression in the alkaline regions of fruit flies, caterpillars and mosquitoes. This comparative approach will identify genes that are common to the high pH region in all species. This may provide additional, unexpected leads in our search for mechanism, and thus for new targets.”
Davies and Dow have also been awarded a prestigious three-year BBSRC UK-Japan Partnering Award, ‘Systems Approaches to Food Security’, linked with a Japan Science and Technology Agency grant awarded to their research partner, Professor Shoichiro Kurata. Professor Kurata is an internationally- renowned Drosophila immune biologist, at Tohoku University, Japan and this exciting collaboration will allow development of ‘green insecticides’ for insect crop pest species from natural microbial compounds. The researchers will also uncover new modes of action for novel insecticidal compounds via metabolomics, which as in the ‘high pH’ award, will be carried out at Glasgow Polyomics facility. Shireen Davies explains “It’s exciting to be able to exploit our fundamental research in this way, and the technologies available in Glasgow are highly enabling for this work.”

Beatson Pebble Appeal reaches funding milestone

Cancer research in the West of Scotland has been given a major boost with the announcement that the Beatson Pebble Appeal has reached its £10m funding goal. The Appeal, launched in 2008, is raising money to support the development of new cancer treatments. The money raised is being used to fully fund the construction of the Beatson Translational Research Centre in Garscube, Glasgow. However, the success of the campaign to date has encouraged Appeal staff to continue fundraising to help pay for new equipment for the centre along with infrastructure and staffing costs so that the centre can achieve its ambitious goals.

The centre, which is due to open in spring 2013, will provide a suite of state-of-the-art facilities for researchers working to develop new and more targeted treatments for a wide range of common types of the disease including breast, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancers. It is hoped that more effective treatments can be created through the development of drugs specifically tailored to individual patients’ requirements and accelerating implementation in the clinic. This personalised medicine approach aims to provide the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time, for the right cost and with the right outcome.
The development of the Centre is a collaboration between the University of Glasgow, the Beatson Institute, Cancer Research UK and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The Centre will be headed by Director Professor Andrew Biankin, who will also take up the role of Chair of Surgery early next year. Further information is available on the University website. For more information on the Beatson Pebble Appeal, visit www.beatsonpebbleappeal.org

Green light for next stage of stem cell stroke trial

The world’s first clinical safety trial of a human neural stem cell therapy for stroke patients has been given the go-ahead to progress to its next stage. The PISCES trial is being conducted at the Southern General Hospital in partnership with pharmaceutical company ReNeuron. The Phase I trial is looking at the safety of injecting expanded neural stem cells, in increasing doses, into the brains of a total of 12 patients left disabled by an ischaemic stroke, the most common form of the condition, and monitoring them over a period of two years.

The PISCES study is the world’s first fully-regulated clinical trial of a neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients. Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world. The trial is being conducted at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board, led by Prof Keith Muir, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology. Further information can be found on the University website.

New research examines health and wellbeing outcomes from Glasgow’s East End regeneration

A team from the College has embarked on research to examine the impact that the 2014 Commonwealth Games and related regeneration will have on the east end of the city. Unprecedented levels of investment to develop infrastructure for the Games is being made, alongside investment in improved housing, neighbourhoods and communities in Bridgeton, Calton, Camlachie, Dalmarnock, Gallowgate and Parkhead.

Researchers from the Centre for Population Health and the Medical Research Council – who form the collaborative partnership GoWell – will investigate what benefits these changes might offer to the health and quality of life of local people. They will also consider whether the Games will stimulate interest in sport and leisure activities in the area.

Professor Ade Kearns, Principal Investigator on the project and Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow said: “The current investment and development activity in the East End of Glasgow represents the best opportunity since the 1970s to change the lives of some of the city’s most disadvantaged communities. It is important that we find out how, and to what extent, the East End residents themselves can gain from what is happening.” The University web pages have further information.

Glasgow secures new experimental research centre for arthritis

The University of Glasgow has been named as an Arthritis Research UK (ARUK) Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre – the first in Scotland. The Centre will recruit local patients to test new and existing drugs and to find new approaches that can predict which treatment works best in individuals. With joint start-up funding of £225,000 over three years from medical research charity Arthritis Research UK and the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office, the centre aims to take forward the recent advances in the treatments available for people with arthritis.

Principal investigator Professor Iain McInnes said: “Glasgow has a long tradition of excellence in the investigation of arthritis treatments, and we’re delighted that the Scottish government has decided to work together with a major medical research charity for the good of Scottish patients. We want to use our expertise to answer some important questions: to discover how established medicines work and allow us to use them even more effectively; and to find out why people with arthritis are more disposed to developing heart attacks and strokes, and to becoming depressed. Above all we want to try and understand why arthritis happens in the first place.”

Rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly half a million people in the UK. It is a chronic, disabling condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Although newer biologic treatments such as anti-TNF therapies pioneered by Arthritis Research UK have made a huge difference to patients’ lives, a significant proportion of patients still do not respond to such treatment. Further information is available here.

Test can identify patients with hypertension at higher risk of death

An inexpensive and routinely performed blood test could help identify patients with high blood pressure who are at increased risk of dying from the condition. Scientists have found that one of the parameters in the routine full blood count – the volume percentage of red blood cells in blood known as haematocrit (hct) – is an independent biomarker for early death in patients with high blood pressure. While high haematocrit has been known to be associated with increased risk of thrombosis, the threshold level for action is usually when it exceeds very high levels of over 55%.

Hypertension is the most common preventable cause of premature death in the UK affecting over a quarter of adults – and over half of those over 60 years of age. Dr Sandosh Padmanabhan, Reader in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, who led the study said: “Finding new biomarkers that predict disease or risk is the Holy Grail for medical researchers.

“This study shows that there is valuable predictive information that can be obtained from blood tests that are routinely performed in out-patient clinics and primary care. Haematocrit, for example, is very useful in assessment and management of hospital in-patients who are very sick, but we show that this parameter can also be useful in predicting risk in out-patient and primary care settings.” Further information is available from the University’s news pages.

‘Toxic’ oestrogen by-product linked with fatal lung condition

In a study funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in American Heart Association journal Circulation, Professor Mandy MacLean et al showed that high levels of an enzyme in the lungs called CYP1B1 – which breaks down oestrogen into harmful smaller molecules – could play a role in the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The joint first authors were two ICAMS PhD students, Kevin White who recently moved to Harvard and was funded by the Integrative Mammalian Biology Initiative, and Anne Katrine Johansen, a BHF funded PhD student.

Around 3,000 people in the UK have pulmonary arterial hypertension, when overactive cell growth in blood vessel walls reduces the space for blood flow in the lungs. Often affecting younger, pre-menopausal women, symptoms include breathlessness and chest pain. The signs worsen as lung blood pressure increases, and the disorder is often fatal. More than one in ten patients dies within the first year of diagnosis. Although there are treatments available, they are often not effective.

This new study shows a link between high levels of a harmful molecule produced from the breakdown of oestrogen by CYP1B1 and the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The findings could help lead to new treatments to tackle the disease. The University’s web site has more information.

History / Background


History / Background

The Head of College Scholars list was founded in 2012 by the Head of College, Prof. Anna Dominiczak, with the support of the senior management group of the College.  The scheme is run by a steering committee convened by Prof. Maureen Bain, Dean for Learning and Teaching, and comprising representatives of the Undergraduate Schools and degrees within the College: Prof. Matthew Walters (School of Medicine), Prof. Jim Anderson (School of Veterinary Medicine) and Dr. Joe Gray (School of Life Sciences).

The nucleus of the Scholars’ List began in the old Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences (FBLS). In 2007, the FBLS Dean, Prof. Paul Hagan and the Head of the Life Sciences Teaching, Dr. Rob Aitken, founded the Dean’s Group scheme intended to expose L1 students to research and researchers in FBLS.  Dr. Joseph Gray took over the running of the Dean’s Group in 2008 and the scheme rapidly expanded to include both L1 and L2 students from across FBLS.  Leading researchers volunteered to host small group laboratory visits/tutorials intended to expose students to the excitement of modern biological research.  A small number of Summer Research Placements were also made available. The scheme has been hugely successful and has involved over 100 students and 20-30 staff in any one year. One of the students, Mr. Alan Passey, surveyed his fellow students who took part in the scheme and wrote an opinion piece on the Dean’s Group for the FBLS newsletter (see “The student perspective” tab). Mr. Passey is now a PhD student at Imperial College London.

The formation of the MVLS College in 2010 provided the opportunity to adopt and modify the ethos of the Dean’s Group for the needs of the College. This has lead to the formation of the HoC Scholars’ List Scheme in 2012 for students from across the College of MVLS.




Students who agree to take part in the HoC Scholar’s List Scheme will be invited to large, collective meetings as well as small group meetings:

Large Meetings:
There will be two large meetings of the HoC Scholar’s List in the 2018-2019 academic year, one in each Semester: These meetings are intended to allow for social interaction between talented students and students and staff from across the College. Guest academics from the College will give plenary talks at each meeting.

The first meeting is on the 20th November 2018 at 6.30pm in the Joseph Black Lecture Theatre 1. The keynote speaker is Professor Sarah Cleaveland, Professor of Comparative Epidemiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine).

The second meeting is on the 5th March 2019 at 6.30pm in the Joseph Black Lecture Theatre. The keynote speaker is Professor George Baillie, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology (Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences).

Small-Group Meetings:
Small, mixed groups of students from across the College, will meet with active researchers from across the spectrum MVLS.  The format of these small-group meetings is flexible, with the aim of exposing students to the excitement of research and exploration, and to stimulate both an appreciation for research involves as well as an open, questioning mind.

Summer Research Placements:
Each year, ten Summer Research Placements are funded by the College of MVLS as part of the Head of College Scholars’ List Scheme.  Students taking active part in the Head of College Scholars’ List Scheme will compete for these prestigious studentships by submitting a short research proposal written with their intended supervisor – see further information about the application process below.

The Student Perspective


The Student Perspective

“Overall I found the studentship to be an incredibly valuable experience. I was taught a wide variety of lab techniques such as cell culture, making SDS gels, western blotting, buffer preparation and protein purification. All of which will be very useful throughout the rest of my undergraduate degree and my future career. I was continually encouraged to ask questions and to interpret my own results. I increased in confidence over the six weeks and was increasingly given greater responsibility for my own experiments as the project progressed. Everyone in the lab was very helpful and gave up a lot of their time to assist me. They were also glad to talk to me about their projects and career paths. This enabled me to gain a greater insight into what it would be like to work in an academic research environment and what a PhD would involve. Completing this placement has confirmed my interest in a career in research and in perhaps completing a PhD after finishing my undergraduate degree”.

(Summer studentship student 2014 – 15)

Overall I think the HoCSLS was great, it was very informative and interesting. It helped me decide what to do after my undergraduate course and to choose whether I want to do the integrated Master's degree or not.

What I enjoyed most about the scheme was that it allowed us to learn about another road we could take with our studies. Being a dental student, we are trained to ultimately become dentists but I now see that I could always go into research with my degree which could be a very interesting and rewarding career. Research was something I didn't know a lot about so I had never really considered it but now that I am a lot better informed, I feel as though this is something I would consider in the future.

I was grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the scheme, it was very informative and showed me how research was put into practice. It was also encouraging to see other students doing so well!  Overall, I believe the scheme was very beneficial and has given me the confidence boost I needed to pursue my career further.

I really enjoyed the talks and presentations from students who did projects. They were all informative and interesting to listen to. The tutor session was also good and it was nice to be in a smaller group as it was much more engaging than the usual sessions.

I highly enjoyed the Head of College Scholars List Scheme this year. What I found the best was how informative the sessions held by keynote speakers and other academics was. It really helped me make my decision as to whether I wanted to pursue a career in research. As well as this, I am one of the students who acquired a placement and received £1000 funding. I think this offer of funding is an excellent idea, and motivates students to search for a research placement. Having previous students talk as well was very helpful as it explained how you would go about getting a summer placement.

It was very helpful that professors were talking not only about their research, but also about their career choices, personal life. Also I enjoyed small meetings, because topics were always interesting and different, it was easier to ask questions in smaller group, and it was nice to meet other students. It was also good that big meetings were arranged after lectures.

I thought that it was good that we had talks from both staff who were experienced with research and from students. I thought this as it gave contrasting viewpoints both from an inexperienced student's perspective on stepping into research for the first time, as well the more experienced view from someone who was very knowledgeable in their field.

Most of all I really enjoyed my two meetings. I had a lovely group of students, and the sessions were really interesting and inspiring. I got on really well with a couple of the students; it's great to have made some contacts for the future. The meetings also helped me narrow down my list of career options which was really helpful.

I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to listen to ongoing ground breaking research. Most importantly, the meetings were eye openers to the diverse internship opportunities that were available.

It was inviting and the staff involved are all very friendly What was not so good about the Scheme As a medical student, it felt somewhat random to be invited for one-to-one career advice/research opportunities by someone in the field of molecular biology. It was very niche, and I think the member of staff was quite surprised that I was there. Also, I was unable to attend any of the lecture sessions due to work commitments and wasn't really given the chance to make up for this.

It was an amazing experience for me as it allowed me to directly see what research really means and its main aspects.

I thought the scheme was good as it encouraged me to get a summer placement by emphasising the benefits of them. I liked that it brought you into contact with lecturers and university staff outside the lecture environment.

I really enjoyed being part of the Scholars List since I felt that it exposed me to a bigger picture beyond the medical curriculum. I particularly enjoyed the lectures given on current research, especially the first lecture on TNF-alpha since it was very relevant to my course. I am also grateful for the opportunity to meet new people from other courses-I enjoyed spending time with them on our visit to the cancer research centre in Garscube.

Applications for Summer Studentships 2019

One year on, including studentship reports


Head of College Scholars List Scheme is a success in its first year

One hundred and fifty nine undergraduate students from all parts of the College participated in the Scheme during the 2012/13 academic session by attending large and small group meetings.  Forty-four members of staff from across the College assisted with the Scheme and arranged small group meetings.

Ten applications for summer studentships were fully funded from the Scheme and one application was part-funded. Students are currently undertaking the studentships and the research reports are beginning to arrive describing the exciting research they have been undertaking. The successful students and supervisors are listed at the end of this article.

There has been very helpful feedback about the Scheme from participating students and tutors. All of the students who responded were positive about the Scheme:

“I gained valuable insight into the world of active research and it has reinforced my decision to pursue a career in research after I graduated”.

“I think the Head of Scholar’s List Scheme is a really good idea, and listening to others talk about their career is very motivating, as they talk about the mistakes and uncertainties they had, and we often think we are the only ones to experience that. It is very encouraging.”

Most of the tutors who responded were also positive about the Scheme:

“This was a really nice scheme and the students who attended seemed to be interested in laboratory life”.

However, there were number of constructive comments about what aspects of the Scheme did not work so well this year and could be improved next year. These included lack of clarity about the purpose of the Scheme, difficulties in running mixed groups with students from different areas of the College, timing of the sessions etc.

We are planning to run the Scheme again this year and will try to make as many improvements as we can.  The rationale for mixing groups is to encourage interdisciplinary thinking/working in research. There was a mixed view among tutors and students about whether this was a good thing to try. After discussion at the College Management Group, it has been agreed that we try it again this year, albeit with more clarity about the purpose of the Scheme.

I would like to record my thanks to the College Academic Staff who supported the Scheme – both the tutors who held small group meetings and senior staff who gave talks at the large group meetings. I would also like to thank the College administrative staff who helped by providing lists of students and recording the students’ participation on their HEARs and particularly to my secretary, Arlene Murphy for help with administering the Scheme.

I hope that those tutors who participated in the Scheme this year will agree to help again next year and that new tutors will consider becoming involved.

Jill Morrison, College Dean for Learning and Teaching 2.8.13


Students/supervisors who received summer studentships in the
Head of College Scholars List Scheme

Student Supervisor
Calum Mooney, Medicine 2 Prof Eleanor Davies
Matthew Cunningham, Medicine 2 Dr Charles McSharry
Yong Kong, Medicine 2 Dr James Park
Miren Valerie Bella Summers, Life Sciences 2 Prof James Leiper
Monika Petrauskyte, Life Sciences 2 Prof Stuart Nicklin
Leen Al-Mohammad, Life Sciences 2 Prof George Baillie
Michaela Kolmosova, Life Sciences 2 Prof Andrew Todd
Roman Hajdu, Life Sciences 2 Prof Nikolaj Gadegaard
Alison Claire Purcell, Life Sciences 2 Dr Kristina Kirschner
Jennifer Allison Yu, Vet Medicine 2 Dr William Weir
Student Supervisor
Rifah Abdullah, Life Sciences 2 Prof Helen Minnis
Jack Barber, Life Sciences 2 Dr Gillian Douce
Keila Navarrao I Batista, Life Sciences 3 Prof Andrew Todd
William Docherty-Boyd, Life Sciences 2 Dr Tansey Hammarton
Hanna Eriksson, Life Sciences 2 Dr Joanne Edwards
Eliska Kosova, Life Sciences 2 Dr Sofie Spatharis
Alina Kurjan, Life Sciences 3 Dr Julia Cordero
Federico Lupo, Life Sciences 3 Dr Thomas Otto
Tomas Martak, Life Sciences 2 Dr Brian Smith
Lauren Sedgley, Life Sciences 3 Prof Christine Edwards
Stuart Smith, Life Sciences 2 Prof Annette MacLeod
Iona Wallace, Life Sciences 2 Prof Michael Blatt
Khai Syuen Chew, Medicine 2 Prof Christian Delles
Ramandeep Gill, Medicine 3 Prof Anthony Chalmers
Matthew Henderson, Medicine 3 Prof Colin Berry
Paul McMillan, Medicine 2 Dr Neal Millar


Student Supervisor
Lynette Loi Dr Jean Quinn
Isabella Jäntti Dr Julia Codero 
Nimra Rasheed Dr Julia Edgar
Annabelle Ferguson Prof John McLauchlan 
Federico Lupo Prof Simon Milling
Omar Alonso Naranjo Prof Margaret Harnett 
Rafael Molina Prof Hugh Nimmo 
Georgia Watkins Prof Sheila Graham 
Jonathan Gamwell Dr Ian Salt 
Marco Laub Prof Gwyn Gould 
Megan Espie Prof Andrew Todd


Student Supervisor
Elizabeth Cahya Dr Antonia Roseweir
Daniel Dolan Dr James Park
Katrina Lundberg Dr Dalia Malkova
Tina Karagyozova Prof Paul Shiels
Briana Nelis Dr Neal Millar
Ehsan Salim Dr Scott Johnstone
Wai Huang Teng Dr Philip McCall
Sarah Williamson Dr Julia Edgar


Student Supervisor
Viktoria Balogh‌ Prof Andrew Todd
Valentina Bart Prof Margaret Harnett
Victoria Bolton Prof Arvind Patel
Rasa Elementaite‌ Dr Julia Cordero
Alan McDonald‌ Prof Mhairi Copland
Francis Osis‌ Dr Adam Sylvester
Sophie Rodgers Dr Carl Goodyear
Ricardo Sanchez-Velasquez Dr Sam Wilson
Lorna Simpson  Prof Neil Bulleid 
Benjamin Tuck Dr Adam West 
Shu Ning Yew Prof Colin Berry 


Student Supervisor
Shona Borland  Dr Stuart Cobb
Emma Grant  Dr Adam West
Jia Hong Dr Patrick Mark
Catriona James  Dr Stephen Yarwood
Egle Katkeviciute  Prof Richard Cogdell
Claire Martin  Dr Simon Milling
Daisy Moran Dr Terry Quinn
Tuula Ritakari  Dr Stuart Cobb
Cassandra Teng Dr Scott Johnstone
Godwin Tong Prof Hing Leung


Student Supervisor
Calum Anderson Dr Rob Aitken
Jaclyn Carberry Dr Simon Kennedy
Laura Downie Dr Mark Bailey
Shannen Julius Dr Antonia Roseweir
Conor Kelly Dr Anna Amtmann
Natasha Malik Dr Alison Michie
Gregor McMurray
  - Appendix
Dr Charles McSharry
Aime Rankin Prof Roderic Page
Vanessa Teng Prof Colin Berry
Mihnea Turcanu Dr Jesse Dawson
Hedvig Juul Dr David I. Hughes