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MedImmune announces winners of first European cancer research abstract competition

MedImmune has announced the winners of its European research abstract competition, which highlights the work of tomorrow's budding scientific leaders in cancer research.

Students and postdoctoral fellows from across Europe were invited to submit abstracts on cancer research as part of a competition sponsored by MedImmune, AstraZeneca's global biologics unit.

The first prize of £2000 was awarded to Nicole Simonavicius, a PhD student at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, for her research into the role of the tumour pericyte receptor endosialin in angiogensis. ‘Winning this competition is a great honour. Gaining such positive feedback from leading experts has confirmed my commitment to scientific research,’ said Nicole. ‘I am grateful to MedImmune for giving me the opportunity to present my research – it is encouraging to see a research-focused company supporting the next generation of scientists.’

Second and third prizes of £1000 and £500 were awarded to Eva Schlecker, a PhD student at The German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, Germany, and Roberta Burden, a scientist at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

‘It is encouraging to see the high calibre of scientific research that went into the submissions we received,’ said Professor Volker Schirrmacher, one of the competition's judges and retired Head of the Division of Cellular Immunology at The German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg. ‘Their research could pave the way for further understanding of tumour microenvironment and could potentially help in the development of new therapies in the fight against cancer.’

‘MedImmune is committed to fostering the development of the next generation of leading scientists focused on improving human health. One of our primary objectives at MedImmune is to promote and advance health and science education, and this competition provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge committed and talented researchers pursuing science degrees and postdoctoral research in the field of oncology.’ said Klaus Bosslet, Vice President of Research, Oncology, Cambridge.

‘We were impressed with the standard of work delivered and congratulate all of the ten finalists for getting this far. The students and scientists represented embody the future of exciting cancer research and we at MedImmune are privileged to play a part in their careers by providing some recognition for their hard work.’

The competition was open to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Europe. Ten finalists were shortlisted to present their research to an expert panel of judges that included Professor Gillian Murphy, Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge; Professor Volker Schirrmacher, retired Head of the Division of Cellular Immunology at The German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg; and two senior MedImmune representatives. The three winners were announced at the awards ceremony in Cambridge University's Peterhouse College after the evaluation of their presentations on the basis of scientific merit, innovation and delivery.

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