Two graduate students in the Unit, Fiona Milne (supervised by Carol MacKintosh) and Gareth Browne (supervised by Tricia Cohen) successfully defended their PhD theses within days of each other in December 2000. Fiona gave her final PhD lecture on Friday the 15th entitled "Affinity - binding procedures to identify and investigate cellular regulation of 14-3-3 binding proteins" followed by a three and half hour oral examination conducted by Professor Alastair Aitken (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Mike Stark.
Gareth Browne's lecture, on Monday the 18th, was entitled "Regulation of a novel glycogen targetting subunit of protein phosphatase 1 by insulin and nutrition" and his oral examination was conducted by Professor Steve Yeaman (University of Newcastle) and (an overworked!) Mike Stark. This may explain why Gareth's oral examination only took two hours!
Barry Caudwell, who provides support for computers and many other Unit activities, has just celebrated his silver anniversary in the Unit and Judith Hare, one of the Unit secretaries, her first decade in the Unit. These events were marked on December the 18th 2000 by a reception at which Barry was presented with a 25 year old bottle of Highland Park whisky and Judith with a ten year old bottle of port.
Dario Alessi is the recipient of the Eppendorf AG Young Investigator Award for the year 2000. The prize of 15,000 Euros is given annually to a European scientist under the age of 35. Dario received the award from Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President of the German Research Society at a ceremony in Dusseldorf, Germany on November 23rd 2000.
Dario Alessi has won the 1999 Colworth Medal of the Biochemical Society, which is awarded annually to a British Biochemist under the age of 35. The award was made in recognition of his groundbreaking work on insulin signalling, culminating in the discovery of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (PDK1). Dario presented his Colworth Lecture and received the medal and cheque for £1,000 from Sir Philip Randle, the President of the Biochemical Society, at a joint meeting of the Biochemical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry held at the University of Bath on September 5th 2000. He repeated the Lecture on November 15th 2000 at the Colworth House Laboratories in Bedfordshire (the UK headquarters of Uniliver who donate the medal and prize). At 32, Dario was the youngest of the 38 recipients of the award.
This is the fourth time that the Colworth Medal has been won by a scientist from the Unit. Nicholas Tonks (now at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York), who was a PhD student in the Unit from 1982-1985, won The 1993 Colworth Medal, while David Barford won the 1998 Colworth Medal for research he initiated during a year he spent with Tricia Cohen in the Unit in 1991. Sir Philip Cohen, Director of the Unit, won the 1977 Colworth Medal.
Carol MacKintosh was promoted to Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee in October 2000.