4th National RSC/SCI Retrosynthesis Competition

Over the last four months, five members from the Smith group (School of Chemistry), including three women, took part in the 4th National RSC/SCI Retrosynthesis Competition: Elizabeth Munday, Nassilia Attaba, Stéphanie Spoehrle, Calum McLaughlin and Jude Arokianathar. This prestigious competition consists of two rounds and is entered by teams coming from both academia and industry. To progress to the final, each team had to propose a synthesis of acosmine, a complex natural product with a diaza adamantane core. They submitted their entry in December and got selected for the final in January.

The final took place at the SCI headquarters in London on the 10th of March. Ten teams presented their synthesis of a second natural product, Eucalrobusone D, in front of a jury. The St Andrews Team won second Prize.

(Picture: Left to right: Elizabeth Munday, Calum McLaughlin, Stéphanie Spoehrle, Nassilia Attaba, Jude Arokianathar)

Best Poster Prize

Arola Moreras Marti, a first year PhD student in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, was awarded the prize for best poster at the inaugural meeting of the Scottish Planetary Science Network in the National Museum Scotland, Edinburgh in March 2017. Arola’s poster was titled ‘Lithotrophic communities and biosignatures in geothermal environments in Iceland: an analogue for Mars life’. Arola’s prize was a £50 voucher for a book shop which she plans to spend on more astronomy books.

Salters Graduate Prize

Alice Green (2016 MChem Chemistry Graduate), was selected to receive one of the prestigious Salters Graduate Prize’s at a ceremony at the Salters Institute in London on December 9th.

The Salters Awards are given to Chemistry graduates of exceptional ability and promise. Alice is pictured receiving her award with the Master of the Salters Company and Dr Annette Doherty, a senior vice president at GSK. Alice is now carrying out a Ph.D in Oxford.

Suffrage Science Award

Professor Sharon Ashbrook (School of Chemistry) has been selected as the next recipient of the Suffrage Science award for women in engineering and physical sciences. The Suffrage Science scheme celebrates women in science across the UK for their scientific achievement and for their ability to inspire others.

The Award (an heirloom) is handed down from one recipient to the next, and in this case Sharon will receives a bespoke piece of designer jewellery from Professor Polly Arnold (Edinburgh, Chemistry), who was the previous recipient for engineering and the physical sciences.

Booklet “Academic Women Now” launched

This publication on experiences of mid-career academic women in Scotland was launched by the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s “Young Academy Scotland”, which is a project managed by Sharon Ashbrook, Aileen Fyfe and Ineke de Moortel (see photo), all from the University of St Andrews.

The new booklet details the careers of female members of the Young Academy of Scotland, which recognises emerging leaders in science and the humanities, revealing their routes to success by discipline, personal circumstances and opportunities.

The booklet can be found here:

http://www.youngacademyofscotland.org.uk/news/academic-women-now.html

Prize for best poster

Congratulations to Jessica Crumpton-Banks who won the prize for the best poster at the UK Postgraduate Research in Earth and Marine Science conference last week. Jess is studying the how changes in the Southern Ocean affect seawater pH and atmospheric CO2 over geological time. The Southern Ocean is a current source of CO2 to the atmosphere but this ‘leak’ may have stemmed in glacial periods, reducing atmospheric CO2. Jess received a £100 prize, donated by the Marine Sciences Group, which she plans to spend on books and also gets a mention in the Geoscientist magazine.

Prize for best student oral presentation

Roxana Shafiee, a final undergraduate in BSc (Hons) Earth and Environmental Sciences, won the prize for best student oral presentation at the Flow Country conference in Thurso at the end of October. She was presenting research on the local climatic impact of forest-to-bog restoration in the blanket peatland of Caithness and Sutherland. Roxana completed the research last summer under the University Laidlaw Undergraduate Internship in Research and Leadership scheme and she competed against PhD students to take the conference prize. Congratulations to Roxana.