Students Staff

8 April 2016

Karl and Duncan go for Gold

Filed under: Colchester — Tags: — Communications Office @ 2.17 pm
Karl Skeels and Duncan Sweeney

From left: Duncan Sweeney and Karl Skeels, from the School of Biological Sciences.

PhD students Karl Skeels and Duncan Sweeney, from the School of Biological Sciences, have won a Gold sponsorship award from scientific equipment company Primerdesign.

The award, worth over £3,000 each in molecular biology products and training, sponsors a number of postgraduate students to help with research and actively promote good science. Sponsorships are awarded to winning projects on merit.

Karl’s research looks into naturally occurring acids found in wastewater samples, which are by-products of heavy oil extraction, and how their toxic nature can be removed by microorganisms. He wants to engineer a strain that improves the efficiency of the breakdown of the acids’ toxicity.

Duncan’s work relates to soil microbes linked to plant roots and finding ways of improving crop yield of wheat by looking at how the microbial communities can be manipulated so that crop plants such as wheat can be grown in drought and poor nutrient conditions.

“I am really thankful to Primerdesign for choosing me,” said Duncan. “Achieving gold standard helps me greatly with my research.” Karl added: “The award will greatly help in many ways. It’s a very good sponsorship and I’m really happy to receive the award.”

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