Student Talks for The Bowler Travel Bursary

Engagement work between members of the Edinburgh Branch of Parkinson’s UK and local university researchers, students and health care professionals with a research interest in Parkinson’s was started by Prof. Ken Bowler with the establishment of the Edinburgh Research Interest Group (ERIG) and the annual Edinburgh Parkinson’s Lecture. Following his death in 2019 the Branch established an annual Travel Bursary in his name for a PhD student to attend a conference relevant to their research.

This year around 30 ERIG members watched the student talks on Saturday 22nd April 2023 at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine. Three students carrying out research into Parkinson’s each gave a short talk on their work, followed by questions from our audience. The students had been asked to prepare talks suitable for an audience consisting mainly of People affected by Parkinson’s.

Andrew Chai [Supervisor Prof Tilo Kunath, Centre for Regenerative Medicine]: The Strange Case of Alpha-synuclein – The Jekyll and Hyde protein and its role in Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection.

Áine Heffernan [Supervisor Dr Bhuvaneish Thangaraj Selvaraj, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences]: When the stars misalign – Investigating astrocytic dysregulation in Parkinson’s Disease.

Noelia Pelegrina-Hidalgo [Supervisors Mathew Horrocks, Chemistry and Prof Tilo Kunath]: Visualising the invisible in Parkinson’s Disease.

The talks were judged by a panel of three ERIG members with Parkinson’s: Dr Alison Williams, new Branch Chair Stephen Brannan and Nick Shelness. The judges complimented all three students on the clarity of their presentations, their enthusiasm for their projects and the way that they engaged with the audience. The judges were unanimous in their decision that the £500 Bowler Travel Bursary for 2023 should be awarded to Áine Heffernan.

The picture shows the three candidates and Dr Alison Williams

Students and a judge relaxing over lunch after the talks. (Left to right: Noelia Pelegrina-Hidalgo, Andrew Chai, Áine Heffernan and Dr Alison Williams).

Thanks to the students and judges for an enjoyable morning.

Apologies but no recording of the talks is available.


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