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Joint winners for prestigious Massalski research prize

Dr Katie Baker and Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker (courtesy Dundee University)
“Both are excellent examples of the world-leading research being conducted at the James Hutton Institute and great role models for other young scientists to look up to.

Two young scientists based at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee have been jointly awarded the Peter Massalski Prize for meritorious research.

This year’s award panel were so impressed by the calibre of nominations that they decided to jointly award the prize to Dr Katie Baker and Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, who are both alumni of the Institute’s Postgraduate School and currently based at the Institute’s Invergowrie site. They will be presented with their prize at the annual general meeting of the Scottish Society for Crop Research, who administer the award.

Having obtained her PhD from the University of Dundee in 2015, Dr Baker has focussed on developing tools to facilitate the analysis and mapping of disease resistance in potato varieties, and is the first author on three high-impact scientific publications.

On winning the Massalski prize, 29-year-old Dr Baker said: “I am delighted to have been even nominated for this award, winning it is the icing on the cake. I would like to thank the people who took the time out of their hectic schedule to write the nomination.”

Dr Eves-van den Akker’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of plant-pathogen interaction, and in particular the ‘molecular tools’ pathogens use to manipulate plants. He was the youngest ever scientist to have been awarded a BBSRC fellowship, and his work has been published in high-impact scientific journals.

27-year-old Dr Eves-van den Akker said: “It is a genuine honour to be awarded the Peter Massalski Prize and I am very grateful to the University of Dundee, the Scottish Society for Crop Research and the James Hutton Institute for supporting me and my research over the last few years.”

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, commented: “I am delighted to congratulate Katie and Sebastian on jointly winning this year’s Massalski Prize, which is a prestigious addition to any young researcher’s achievements.

“Both are excellent examples of the world-leading research being conducted at the James Hutton Institute and great role models for other young scientists to look up to.”

The Massalski Prize was established through the generosity of Professor and the late Mrs T B Massalski, in memory of their son, Dr Peter R Massalski, who was a member of staff at of the former Scottish Crop Research Institute at Invergowrie at the time of his death.

The prize is awarded biennially to the person under 36-years-old, who is considered to have done the most meritorious research whilst based at the James Hutton Institute. It takes the form of a certificate accompanied by a monetary award.

The Scottish Society for Crop Research AGM will be followed by the annual SSCR lecture, given this year by Professor Dame Anne Glover - formerly Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government and subsequently to the President of the European Commission - on the process of translating evidence-based research into real impact for citizens through engagement with policymakers and politicians. Professor Glover is currently Vice-Principal for External Affairs and Dean for Europe at the University of Aberdeen.

Notes to editors

The SSCR AGM and Annual Lecture will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Dundee DD2 5JT on Wednesday 18 May 2016, and members of the press are welcome to attend. Attendance should be confirmed to Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media and External Relations Coordinator, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or 07791 193918 (mobile).

The Scottish Society for Crop Research supports knowledge exchange between science and industry through field events and meetings, science-based publications and research on topics of particular relevance to industry. It is run by a Committee of Management and its activities delivered through sub-committees on soft fruit, potato and combinable crops. See for more information.

The University of Dundee is the top ranked University in the UK for biological sciences, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. With more than 900 scientists, research students and support staff from 61 countries and external funding in excess of £50 million per annum, the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is one of the largest and most productive Life Sciences research institutes in Europe. The Division of Plant Sciences at Dundee is an internationally recognised centre for molecular plant science.

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

Printed from /news/joint-winners-prestigious-massalski-research-prize on 05/12/22 08:36:26 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.