Recipients of annual UK DRI Recognition Prizes announced at Connectome 2023

Siddharthan Connectome 2

Connectome 2023 saw the return of the UK DRI Recognition Prizes, introduced last year on the Institute’s 5th anniversary, to recognise the efforts and achievements of staff across the UK DRI over the past year. The prizes were awarded by UK DRI Director Prof Siddharthan Chandran in the closing remarks of the conference, highlighting those individuals excelling in the categories of computational reproducibility, 3R’s, imaging, posters and engagement.

The winners and honourable mentions were:

UK DRI Recognition Prizes
  • Computational Reproducibility

    The Computational Reproducibility Prize is designed to promote the development and open release of sustainable and reproducible code as part of research output. It was judged by a panel of experts, and the prize was presented by Payam Barnaghi, UK DRI Care Research & Technology, and Amonida Zadissa, UK DRI Associate Director of Informatics.

    Honourable mention - Brian Schilder, Skene lab (UK DRI at Imperial): ‘rworkflows: taming the Wild West of R packages’

    WINNER - Eleonore Schneegans, Jackson lab, UK DRI at Imperial:
    ‘Omix: A Multi-Omics Integration Pipeline’

  • 3R’s - replacement, reduction or refinement of the use of animals in research

    Each year the UK DRI gives a prize to celebrate achievements in the 3Rs - Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in research.

    We recognise that animals, often mice, are needed for some of our research, and that this needs to be carried out in the best possible way, looking for alternatives where possible.

    WINNER - Andrea Salzinger, Selvaraj lab, UK DRI at Edinburgh, for her work to develop a human neuromuscular assembloid model, which allows for the study of neuromuscular junctions in both health and disease.

  • Engagement

    The Engagement Prize highlights initiatives and activities in public engagement and patient involvement across the Institute. Following nomination from across the Institute, submissions were judged by a panel of comms specialists.

    WINNER - Paige Mumford, Emily Blackburn and Cliona Farrell, Wiseman and Schiavo labs, UK DRI at UCL, for their World Down’s Syndrome Day event

    Emily, Cliona and Paige co-organised and ran a World Down Syndrome Day celebration in 2023. It is an annual engagement event hosted at The Crick for people with Down syndrome, their families and carers. The event is a celebration, with the goal of educating people about Down syndrome and sharing the ongoing research into this syndrome, including highlighting Alzheimer's disease in Down syndrome.

    At the event, there were talks by scientists and medical professionals, as well as from a person with Down syndrome, and a family member of someone with Down syndrome. Many engaging activities targeted toward all age groups were hosted, including making play-doh neurons, using microscopes, making brain hats, pairing chromosomes and a photo-booth.

    This event required 8 months of organisation, with the organising team applying for grants to support the event, designing the day and advertising.

  • Scientific Imaging

    The Scientific Imaging prize highlights eye catching images from across the UK DRI. Entries were shortlisted by a panel from UK DRI headquarters based on visual impact and then judged by public vote on the UK DRI’s social media channels.

    WINNER - Puja Mehta, Isaacs lab, UK DRI at UCL for 'Eruption of Etna's Embers':


    Human neurons grow in a device (bottom), and 'wires' carry the electrical impulses, travelling through tiny grooves to get to the other side (top). This chaotic network of the wires gives the effect of a volcanic eruption.

  • Poster

    The Poster Prizes reward excellent poster design, explanation and discussion of results or methodology at Connectome 2023. Group Leaders voted for their favourite poster over the three days. The prize was presented by Giovanna Lalli, UK DRI Director of Scientific Affairs. There were two categories for:

    Research - presentation of a research question with a traditional hypothesis-date-conclusion format

    WINNER - Rikesh Rajani, Busche Lab, UK DRI at UCL:
    Poster 38: Selective suppression of oligodendrocyte-derived amyloid beta rescues neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease

    Technical - an implemented technique or workflow or a technically-focused project

    WINNER: Shekhar Kedia, Klenerman lab, UK DRI at Cambridge:
    Poster 63: Direct visualization of protein aggregates in synaptosomes

Article published: 6 October 2023