Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine
Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine

Biochemical Society Studentship supports summer research project with Professor Cathy Abbott

Elena Hein, a second year student at the UoE was awarded a Biochemical Society summer studentship to carry out a research project in Cathy Abbott’s lab for 6 weeks in July and August 2022.

Elena Hein looking through a microscope
Elena Hein working in the lab

Professor Cathy Abbott and Elena Hein applied for and were awarded a Biochemical Society summer studentship to work on a rare genetic cause of neurodevelopmental disorders called EEF1A2.

Elena’s project involves looking at the protein encoded by EEF1A2 and the effects that different disease-causing missense mutations have on higher order structures of the protein.

“She has learnt a whole range of techniques and shown herself to be a fantastic experimental scientist who will go on to great things!” Professor Cathy Abbott.

Elena intends to pursue a career in research in the future.


Six weeks seemed like a long time for me at the beginning but slowly coming to an end now, I really wish I could have stayed for longer as there is always so much more to discover…I feel like I have just started to become more confident and independent in the lab setting.

While coming into the project without any prior research experience and only limited lab practicals over the last couple of years due to the pandemic, it felt a bit daunting at first, not really knowing where to start or how things work, but I quickly learned to not doubt myself too much and how every result can mean an impact, however small. Science doesn’t always goes as planned but this also gives it its excitement when an experiment does give interpretable results or of trying to optimise and adjust a protocol to eventually be able to understand the function or behaviour of whatever molecule or protein you are looking at a little bit more.

Elena Hein
Elena presenting results from a Western blot of a Blue Native gel
Elena presenting results from a Western blot of a Blue Native gel


Biochemical Society - Summer Vacation Studentships (external page) 

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Cathy Abbott lab page