Bruce Cattanach Prize 2022 Dr Louisa Zolkiewski

I am honoured to have been awarded the Bruce Cattanach Prize for my PhD thesis. I am eternally grateful for the support and guidance of my supervisors Prof Roger Cox, Prof Clive Wilson and Dr Rebecca Dumbell throughout my PhD, and for their nomination for this award. I would like to extend my gratitude to the MRC Harwell Institute, the University of Oxford and the Genetics Society for enabling me to undertake such a varied and challenging project and for supporting my career development throughout the four years of my PhD, including a Junior Scientist Conference Grant to present my work at a Keystone Symposium in August 2022.

During my PhD project I modelled orthologous genetic variants in vivo in mice to investigate their potential functionality associated with altered body fat distribution in humans which is a risk factor for developing complex diseases. This award is particularly meaningful as I undertook my thesis at the MRC Harwell Institute, where Bruce carried out his mutagenesis research for almost 30 years. In fact, I spent several hours in the Cattanach conference room with my supervisor Roger editing my thesis chapters!

I am now working as a senior scientist at Gentronix, a CRO based at Alderley Park in south Manchester. I’m excited to be applying the skills and genetics knowledge I gained during my PhD to conduct genotoxicity assays to ensure safer chemicals and medicines reach the market.