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The University of Southampton

Southampton chemistry PhD student takes gold for science in Parliament

Published: 18 March 2011
Andrew Treharne

Andrew Treharne, a chemistry PhD student at the University of Southampton, struck gold at a competition in the House of Commons, for the excellence of his scientific research. He presented his research on tools to cure the eye condition macular degeneration to more than a hundred politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the SET (Science, Engineering, Technology) for Britain contest.

Andrew won both the gold Roscoe medal for best chemistry poster and the Westminster medal for best overall poster. His work was judged against that of 59 other shortlisted researchers.

“I was really honoured to win the Chemistry gold award and then go on to win the overall prize, especially in the International Year for Chemistry,” he says.
“Being able to present at the House of Commons was a great opportunity to showcase research in the UK, especially in Chemistry, and demonstrate to MPs and ministers how important that research is.”

Andrew completed his master’s degree in Chemistry with Medicinal Sciences at Southampton then stayed on to study for a PhD, funded by the charities Gift of Sight, founded by the University’s Professor Andrew Lotery, and Foresight RP. He started work in this field while an undergraduate and has enjoyed taking his studies further. “During my research I have met some people with this condition. It really inspires you to work as hard as you can to achieve results.”

Professor Brian Cox, TV star physicist and member of the judges panel, says: “Part of the remit for us as judges was to look at not only excellent science – all four finalists were outstanding – but also someone who could communicate very clearly. That was the difference for the winner… a fascinating blend of surface chemistry, biology and communication.”

Andrew plans to continue in research after graduating with his doctorate but has not yet decided exactly which area to specialise in.

Medal winner Andrew
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