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Durham University News

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Local female science student wins national chemistry award

(21 November 2006)

Left to Right - ‘Prof Judith A K Howard, Chairman of Chemistry at Durham University, Lisa Murphy with her award, Lisa’s project supervisor Dr Ritu Kataky.’

Durham University student Lisa Murphy, who was born and raised in the North East and previously attended Framwellgate School Durham, has been awarded the 2006 ICI Award for the Best Chemistry student of the year.

The Science, Engineering and Technology Student of the Year (SET) awards occur each year to recognise outstanding work produced by undergraduates from British universities and are judged by leading specialist institutions. The winners are honoured in a magnificent ceremony before an audience comprising of hundreds of technology students, academics, senior industry executives; as well as senior figures from government, scientific and technical institutions and the media. Lisa, 23, was awarded her trophy on the merit of her academic achievements throughout her degree as well as an outstanding final project in her 4th year. Lisa’s project, entitled 'Chiral Electrochemical Detection of 1-Phenylethanol, a Key Intermediate in Many Pharmaceutical Syntheses', focuses on a new way of detecting and separating ineffective or harmful versions of molecules from drug samples. Lisa, who was nominated for her award by the teaching staff at Durham University’s chemistry department, was thrilled about receiving the award, “Winning such a prestigious award is a great honour and I am extremely proud to be able to represent the North East in such a positive light. Studying at Durham, in a world-class chemistry department with such supportive and dedicated staff, has been invaluable to me and I couldn’t have achieved this award without their help.” “Throughout my time at University I have been encouraged to fulfil my potential and it is a wonderful feeling to have all my hard work and commitment recognised.” Dr Ritu Kataky, Lisa’s fourth year project supervisor, was extremely proud of Lisa’s achievement, “Lisa started her project with no background in electrochemistry and despite this she has managed to achieve an award that shows she is at the forefront of this subject. “In fact Lisa’s project was so successful that it has contributed to a patent application, something not many young chemists can lay claim to!” Lisa enjoyed her time at Durham so much she has decided to remain at the university to study for a PhD, for which she has been awarded a prestigious Durham University Doctoral Fellowship, the only one awarded to a chemist. “Lisa is an asset to the department and we are delighted that she has chosen to stay with us for a few more years.” said Professor Judith Howard, Chairman of Chemistry at Durham University, “We are all extremely proud of her and having already achieved so much at such a young age, Lisa’s future seems very bright and we wish her every success.”

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