Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Students win 2020 John Inglis prize

Ioannis Christodoulou and Yuting Lu win HGU student prizes following virtual seminar: July 2020

images of Yuting Lu, Ioannis Christodolou, Beth Bartlett, MRC HGU student prize winners

Nine penultimate year PhD students at the MRC Human Genetics Unit presented their work on Friday 22nd June, with two winning presentations being awarded the coveted John Inglis Prize, in memory of John Inglis, who completed his PhD at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. 

Ioannis Christoldolou (Papadopoulos lab) and Yuting Lu (Patton lab) were each awarded the John Inglis prize for their outstanding presentations.

Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) are fascinating enzymes. This PhD project gives me an exciting opportunity to learn and use the cutting-edge tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technique and zebrafish melanoma models, while to develop further understandings of cancer biology.

Yuting LuMRC HGU PhD student and John Inglis Prize winner

I believe the experience i have gained from this talk will play a pivotal role in my future presentations

Ioannis ChristodoulouMRC HGU PhD student and John Inglis Prize winner

Wendy Bickmore, Unit Director, commended all the PhD students who took part in this year’s John Inglis talks. She noted that the standard of all the talks, given online for the first time, was remarkable. She congratulated this year’s joint winners of the John Inglis prize, Yuting Lu and Ioannis Christodoulou for their work on an important cancer stem cell marker (Yuting) and on the molecular dynamics of key developmental transcription factors (Ioannis), noting how these projects reflect the scope of HGU science from molecules to tissue and tumour biology.

John Inglis was a friend and colleague and he had a huge drive and enthusiasm for science. I can only imagine how impressed John would be to see the scope and ambition of the science being done by all the HGU students in 2020 and in such unusual circumstances.

Professor Wendy BickmoreDirector, MRC HUman Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh

An additional student prize was awarded this year to first year student Beth Bartlett, for best rotation student. Students participating in the MRC HGU doctoral training programme participate in assessed activities throughout the year  including student journal clubs, seminar blogs, rotation projects and student talks.

Beth completed rotation projects in the Sproul and Bickmore laboratories and reported a very enjoyable first 6 months of her PhD, despite the COVID-19 related lockdown at the end). Wendy and Duncan for hosting me in their labs and Yatendra and Ioannis for supervising me day to day in each of my rotation projects.


I’d like to thank the wider IGMM for being such a supportive and welcoming environment. If you’re reading this and thinking about whether to apply for the MRC HGU programme in future years go for it! You get exposed to a lot of different research topics and skills which really sets you up well for the rest of the PhD.

Beth BartlettMRC HGU PhD student and first year rotation prize winner


Yuting Lu (High levels of ALDH: A cancer stem cell marker in need of understanding) 

Ioannis Christodoulou (Pax6 and Sox2: A clash of numbers) 

First Year Student Rotation prize winner: Beth Bartlett