Award made to a student who has demonstrated significant academic achievement during the period in which he/she was registered on an Ulster University course.
Katie Christie received the John RE Scott Postgraduate Student of the Year Award for 2018, in recognition of her research into CRISPR/Cas9 to treat corneal dystrophies. This research has made a significant contribution to the emerging field of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing by which “Molecular Surgery” is used to precisely repair blinding eye diseases, in the DNA inherited from our parents.
Katie is part of the Moore Research Group who have delivered first in world proof of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in vivo. She is the third postgraduate from this group to be presented with this award. She has presented her research findings at major international conferences, often as an invited speaker and has been a part of the publication of internationally co-authored, peer reviewed, highly ranked papers, enhancing the reputation of Ulster University along the way. Her research has been so highly regarded that she secured funding from industrial partners in USA, to develop an impressive preclinical data package which resulted in a first in man clinical trial for this innovative gene therapy for blinding eye disease.
The success of her doctoral research in Ulster has culminated in securing a prestigious post-doctoral position in the laboratory of Dr Ben Kleinstiver. Based in the Centre for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, Katie will continue her studies into the development for therapeutic uses of CRISPR/Cas9.
Aside from her academic achievements, Katie is a fantastic role model for students embarking on their own PhD journeys. Despite her busy schedule, she makes time to support and mentor students, as well arranging extra-curricular activities for the research group in Ulster University.
Katie is a prodigy, of whom we are very proud of having the opportunity, to work alongside and influence along the way. The team at Ulster wish Katie every success in the future and look forward to more of her great discoveries and inventions in the years to come.