Research excellence at the University of Kent

The University Prize for Postgraduate Research

Awarded in recognition of an exceptional publication record, including a potential 4* publication, and achievements far beyond those normally expected of a doctoral student.

As part of a project in the Griffin Laboratory Becky O’Connor examined the links between dinosaur and modern avian genomes, using a combination of lab-based and computational means. This allowed the group to learn more about the evolution of bird genomes, and develop new products and processes along the way.

The work has proved that a so-called typical avian genome structure became established much earlier than previously thought. These results were considered so significant that they were accepted by one of the most highly cited journals in the world, Genome Research.

In addition, Becky has been involved in the development of Chromoprobe Multiprobe devices, a pig chromosome translocation screening service, and has written 2 small grants (£10,000 each) and been named investigator and co-author on 2 large BBSRC grants (worth around £1million each, decision pending).

In nominating Becky her supervisor Prof Darren Griffin stated that, ‘even by the standards of a high-flying academic, this has been an outstanding year, and PhD, for Becky. To get a single 4* paper as a result of a PhD would be considered exceptional. For it to be the centre piece of a suite of 5 papers has me reaching for superlatives.

‘Becky was awarded her PhD “without corrections”, and I know of only one other person who has done this. Such achievement could not have been better deserved and thus the same would apply to the award of a University prize for best postgraduate researcher.’

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Last Updated: 02/06/2017

Banner photo (c) Simon Tollington, DICE