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Three new PhD studentships awarded

Left to right: Kate Atkinson, Febe Ferro and Giada Vanacore

We are pleased to announce the recipients of our 2023 PhD studentships.

Research leaders of the future

Each year we call for applications from individuals planning to pursue a PhD focused on research into one of our priority areas: brain and spinal cord tumours, brain and spinal cord injury, or headache and facial pain.

In this highly competitive process, applicants submit a research proposal, which is considered by the members of our Scientific Advisory Panel who then send short-listed proposals out for external peer review. Short-listed candidates are interviewed by the Panel, who then have to make difficult decisions about which candidates have the best potential to drive progress in the field.

Kate Atkinson, Febe Ferro and Giada Vanacore impressed the panel with their knowledge, determination and enthusiasm, presenting high quality research that holds promise of delivering real progress in their respective fields.

Whilst each of their projects is important in its own right, equally important is that we are nurturing the development of promising young scientists,  who we hope will go on to develop long and illustrious careers in areas of neurological research that we have identified as being in particular need of funding.

Dr Kate Atkinson, University of Birmingham

Having completed her training in paediatrics, Kate did an MSc in genomic medicine in 2019. This helped her to realise that she has a passion and an aptitude for discovery science research, and she is keen to pursue this so that she can contribute towards the advancement of medical treatment.

Focused on the deadly childhood brain tumour diffuse midline glioma, Kate is working with supervisor Dr John Halsall in his lab at the University of Birmingham and has access to the cutting edge infrastructure and facilities needed for this ambitious PhD project.

Find out more about Kate’s research

Febe Ferro, University of Dundee

Focused on the brain tumour glioblastoma, Febe is working with Dr Sourav Banerjee, in his lab at the University of Dundee.

Since completion of her Masters in 2020, Febe has worked on a range of projects that have provided the tools and experience to underpin her PhD research, which focuses on the role of a specific enzyme in the growth and proliferation of glioblastoma.  

Febe’s award is made in partnership with the Neurosciences Foundation, and named the Daphne Merrills studentship in memory of Mrs Daphne Merrills.

Find out more about Febe’s research

Giada Vanacore, The Gurdon Institute, Cambridge

Following completion of a Masters in Biomolecular Science in 2022, Giada worked as a research assistant in the lab of Dr Sumru Bayin at the Gurdon Institute. This has enabled her to combine her interests in neurodevelopment and brain plasticity with the study of neural stem cell biology and regeneration.

The award of this PhD studentship allows her to build on these interests, taking forward research focused on how to stimulate neural stem cells to facilitate repair of the brain after injury.

Find out more about Giada’s research

Looking for research funding?

To maximise our impact we are currently focusing our funding on three priority research areas: brain and spinal cord tumours, brain and spinal cord injury, and headache and facial pain. These are areas that we have identified as being in particular need of increased research funding.

Applications for the funding of research in these three areas are accepted through our national funding calls. No calls are open at the current time; please email to join our mailing list for information about future calls.

Find out more about how we fund research