Posted on 5 November 2018
Melissa is studying for a degree in Chemistry at The University of York, and the Nova Prize nomination recognises her as a female student who has made outstanding early-career contributions to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Reflecting her talent, Melissa was awarded funding from The Wellcome Trust to help support a summer project in the research lab of Dr Martin Fascione, in which she focussed on the addition of unnatural reactive groups to enable the modification of a range of biomolecules.
Her final year MChem project is an industrial placement at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, where she is working on natural product biosynthesis. In particular, she aims to unlock the potential of naturally-occurring antibiotics.
During her degree, Melissa has been involved in science outreach and communication. She helped present the ‘Antiobiotic Hunters’ stand at the Norwich Science Festival, talking to members of the public about the vital need for new antibiotics, and the key role of chemistry in discovering them. She is also running a ‘Women in STEM’ stand at an event in Norwich for Year 11 pupils, to help inspire the next generation of great female scientists.
The Nova Prize recognises female students who have made outstanding early-career contributions to STEM, with awards being made in the six categories of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Maths, Technology and Engineering. From hundreds of entries, five exceptional women have been selected from each category to be put in front of a panel of expert academics, who will choose the winners. The Nova awards are sponsored by EY. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 7 November at EY London, and will each receive a prize of £1,000.