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PhD student wins Merck Young Scientist Award

Merck Malaysia award

University of Nottingham Malaysia PhD student Lee Shi Ting, from the School of Pharmacy, won the first place in Merck Young Scientist Award (MYSA) on 28 August 2018.

In an annual award ceremony, Shi Ting was among 10 finalists who competed for the top three grand prizes. The finalists presented their papers to an audience of academics and postgraduate students from universities all across Malaysia

According to University of Nottingham Malaysia Associate Professor Dr Siu Yee New: “Shi Ting is a very resourceful student and always looks for opportunities to improve herself. She has actively participated in many competitions and conferences since her first year. Her hard work has definitely paid off, with her winning the Postgraduate Prize, Sparrho Early Career Researcher Prize, as well as this Merck Young Scientist Award last year. I am happy to see her remarkable achievements.”

About the research

Shi Ting’s research is about the self-synthesised luminescent probe, which is able to detect activity of various kinds of cancer cell samples. This luminescent probe is made from a short DNA fragment and used to stabilise a cluster of silver atoms to generate a luminescent light. When this luminescent probe reacts with active cancer cells, the luminescent light will be turned-off. This method is able to distinguish cancer cells from normal cells at a very brief processing time of one hour and costs less than USD1. This aids patients’ accessibility to more affordable service. Shi Ting’s work has also recently been published in the Springer journal.

About the award

Merck is the oldest pharmaceutical company and chemical enterprise in the world. In celebrating its 350 years of excellence, this MYSA 2018 aims to honour Malaysian postgraduates working in the field of biosciences and material sciences. Each candidates was given 10 minutes for an oral presentation and two minutes for a poster competition.

Shi Thing shared her experience at the awards presentation: “I really believe in the adage that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. It is just the same with my research, when I realised that every failure is a stepping stone to success.

I had joined some competitions organised by the University’s Graduate School but I did not win anything thus far. I feel that thefailure has empowered me to keep challenging myself to do better.”


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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

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Posted on 17th January 2019

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