View all news

Top six postgraduate students honoured for research excellence

A circular representation of the genome sequence of Mycoplasma haemofelis strain Langford 1, from Dr Emily Barker's thesis

A circular representation of the genome sequence of Mycoplasma haemofelis strain Langford 1, from Dr Emily Barker's thesis

Dr Etienne Coetzee's thesis looked at the manoevrability of the Airbus A380 on the ground

Dr Etienne Coetzee's thesis looked at the manoevrability of the Airbus A380 on the ground

Dr Heidi Dawson at work excavating a cemetery in Taunton

Dr Heidi Dawson at work excavating a cemetery in Taunton

Press release issued: 3 November 2011

The best research dissertations produced by postgraduate students in each of Bristol University’s six faculties have been announced.

The worthy recipients, selected for the exceptional quality of their research work, have each been awarded a cash prize and a certificate of commendation in recognition of the honour.

One winner is selected from each faculty by members of the Research Degrees Examination Board, which oversees the exam process for research awards. 

Among the winning research projects was a study looking at the impact of heavy drinking on diseases such as prostate cancer and an in-depth look at resolving the problems encountered when manoeuvring jumbo aircraft on the ground.

Professor Nick Lieven, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, said: “Each of the winners has made an outstanding contribution in their chosen field of research.  It is always an enjoyable task looking through the best research dissertations and being reminded of just how talented our postgraduate students are. 

“The quality of their research is really exceptional, gaining recognition and making an impact through being published and presented at conferences both nationally and internationally.”

The 2011 Faculty Research Prize winners are:

Faculty of Arts - Dr. Heidi Dawson from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Dr Dawson carried out a cemetery excavation in Taunton, Somerset, and studied more than 400 individuals to understand the health, demography and cultural practices of medieval children. The research was ground-breaking in the manner in which both archaeological and anthropologocal data was collected and compared to other medieval cemeteries.

Faculty of Engineering - Dr. Etienne Coetzee from the Dept of Engineering Mathematics

Dr Coetzee completed his PhD whilst working for Airbus, which aided his research into the modelling and analysis of how aircrafts manoeuvre on the ground. His findings showed that widely-used geometric methods for the calculation of turn widths are not applicable to large aircraft. Dr Coetzee’s unique toolbox to analyse such situations is now being used by fellow engineers.

Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences - Dr Emily Barker from the School of Veterinary Science

Dr Barker’s thesis provided cutting-edge information about haemotropic mycoplasmas, a parasitic bacteria, which cause haemolytic anaemia in mammals. She used molecular methods of analysis to understand the pathogenic organisms. Dr Barker’s work has provided veterinary surgeons dealing with canine haemoplasma cases with the tools to diagnose and monitor infection, enabling optimum care to be provided.

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry - Dr Luisa Zuccolo from the School of Social and Community Medicine

Dr Zuccolo used cutting-edge epidemiological methods to investigate the causal role that alcohol plays in prostate cancer. She discovered some evidence that heavy alcohol intake may be a risk factor for the disease, but very little evidence for drinking in moderation. The findings have been presented at several national and international scientific conferences.

Faculty of Science - Dr James Price from the School of Physics

Dr Price looked at rare compact elliptical galaxies, which are very small galaxies featuring stars which are packed unusually close together with low luminosity. He was able to show that they shared many characteristics with larger galaxies. Dr Price also looked at 356 bright galaxies in the Coma Cluster, which is the nearest massive cluster of galaxies.

Faculty of Social Sciences and Law - Dr Marguerite Marie Peutz from the School of Politics, Sociology and International Studies [SPAIS]

Dr Peutz PhD looked at the experiences of a Dutch self-help group for people with severe forms of psychiatric disorders. She gained an intimate understanding of the activities and concerns of this group of sufferers. Her dissertation subsequently gave a unique understanding of what it’s like to live with psychosis and its ever-present threat.

Full details and citations of these award-winning theses are available in PDF format (PDF, 121kB).