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Researcher wins North East Famelab


A Newcastle University PhD student has impressed judges to be named the North East FameLab winner.

Watched and critiqued by a panel of judges, Rachel Williams had just three minutes to detail her research in an entertaining and engaging way and impressed the panel with her use of props and imagery on her research topic, the molecular mediators of periodontal disease. 

Rachel (pictured right) who is in the Institute of Cellular Medicine said: “It feels fantastic to have won the Newcastle FameLab heat! I've always enjoyed engaging with the public about science so I'm really excited about performing in front of a larger audience at the final in London. FameLab is a great opportunity to talk about your scientific interests in a unique format. It's made me think about my research from a new perspective and enhanced my presentation skills.”

FameLab is about scientists and engineers communicating their research to the public. Launched in the UK by Cheltenham Festivals in 2005, this competition is now global and aims to find the new voices in science, engineering, maths and technology. During the competition held at the Centre for Life researchers from across the North East covered topics such as the science of 3D, the cosmic difference between apples and oranges and how to train an origami pigeon.

As regional winner she wins a place on a communication master class and gets the chance to compete in the UK Grand Final, to be held at the Bloomsbury theatre on 23 April 2014. The winner will receive £1000 for themselves and up to £750 to spend on a science communication activity, whether it’s attending a conference, further training or developing a public event or activity. 

Runner-up Sam Ginja from the Institute of Health and Society, tackled psychology, discussing famous experiments such as Pavlov’s dogs and Skinners pigeons.  Sam will compete against the other regional wild cards for a place at the final.

published on: 18 December 2013