Centre for Inflammation Research

CIR presents 2022 Award for Excellence in Public Engagement

Sofia Sintoris and Michelle Wilson were awarded the 2022 Trainee Award for "Excellence in Public Engagement."

CIR awards an annual Trainee Award for “Excellence in Public Engagement” to one or two deserving members of CIR who have demonstrated significant effort, dedication, and enthusiasm toward engaging audiences with CIR research. After assessment of the past year’s PE activities, our public engagement committee would like to recognise Sofia and Michelle for their excellent public engagement work, as outlined below. Each winners was presented with a £50 Amazon voucher in recognition of their dedication to public engagement.

Sofia Sintoris (PhD Student with Professor Donald Davidson)

Sofia has actively engaged with several different CIR public engagement activities over the past year, engaging primarily with children and young people. She has played a leading role in developing a new computer-game-based educational schools resource, Operation Colodenum, which introduces children to vaccines, antibiotics, and the microbiome. Sofia took an active role in resource development and game design meetings. She also independently liaised with local schools and organised several school workshops, trialling content and getting feedback on the new school resource.

In addition to her work on Operation Colodenum, Sofia also delivered immunology workshops to families as part of the 2022 Edinburgh Science Festival, worked with the Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre to deliver Skills Labs for secondary school pupils, assisted with a Supercytes Teacher Training event, and created a STEM Career Snapshot “Day in the Life as a Scientist” video introducing pupils to careers in science. Sofia embodies what is means to be an engaged researcher, clearly valuing public engagement as a key part of her research career. 

Thank you very much, I really appreciate the award and recognition of the importance of public engagement in research.

Sofia Sintoris, PhD Student, Centre for Inflammation Research

Michelle Wilson (Research Associate working with Dr Gwo-tzer Ho)

Michelle recently led on a first-on-its-kind pilot patient and family research engagement day exploring paediatric inflammatory bowel disease, held at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. The event invited young people with IBD, along with their families, to tour research labs and clinical facilities, listen to short talks, ask questions from experts, and connect with others with similar conditions. The event focused on hopes and dreams for IBD research. Many comments and suggestions from patients and families were noted down to influence IBD clinics and future research.

Michelle spearheaded this engagement event, from conception to delivery. She organised all event logistics, contacted and reviewed speaker materials, coordinated partnerships with the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and other IBD charities, and made sure that all attendees had a valuable and enjoyable time at the event. Michelle went above and beyond in organising this impactful event, and aims to hold similar events in the future to showcase ground-breaking IBD research and engage patients in the research process. She keeps patients at the heart of everything she does.

I am truly so honoured to receive this surprise award. I sincerely enjoyed hosting this event and feel very grateful for the opportunity given to me to do so. This event was the success it was due to everyone's involvement - it was a real team effort! 

Michelle Wilson, Research Associate, Centre for Inflammation Research

Find out more

CIR hosts patient and family day exploring paediatric IBD

CIR visits Castlebrae High School to co-develop videogame