The Sir James Black Award for Outstanding Achievement is an annual award presented by each College of the University to the final year undergraduate student making the most outstanding contribution to research and scholarship in their field.
The Awards are named after the former Chancellor of the University. Sir James Black was a Nobel-prize winning scientist renowned for his discovery of the beta-blocker, propranolol, and the H2 blocker, cimetidine (Tagemet), which transformed the treatment of angina and stomach ulcers respectively.
Sir James was Chancellor of the University between 1992 and 2006 and took a deep interest in the growth of the University. The University presents the Awards in memory of his remarkable contribution to science, to society and to the University of Dundee.
Lord Naren Patel, Chancellor of the University, presented this year's awards to four students at a special lunch to mark Graduation. Lord Patel said, 'The students who are receiving awards this year have all produced truly outstanding work and they are fully deserving of this honour.
'Sir James was passionate about students and excited by their potential. He took a very keen interest in the work they were doing and I am sure he would have been very impressed by what our four award winners have achieved.'
This year's award winners are:
Katie Linden (College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing) For her project on the BMSc intercalated degree in Clinical Research, Katie helped run a study examining the associations between periodontal health and all cause mortality in a population in Northern Ireland. Her role involved the planning of the project, data collection and a complex statistical analysis of the data. The key finding of the study was of a significantly increased risk of death in men aged between 60 and 70, if they had severe loss of periodontal attachment. The work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. Katie achieved a First Class BMSc.
Pawel Grzyb (College of Art, Science and Engineering) For his final year degree show project, Pawel produced 'The Untold Story, an emotionally pitch-perfect documentary film, exploring his grandfather's life in Poland during WW2 and the postwar period. His grandfather never spoke of his youth, which included time served in Auschwitz. From a few brief comments, his family knew of a terrible past, but could never discuss it.
Pawel has attempted to discover as much as is possible of this harrowing story. The production involved negotiation with the Auschwitz Museum and Archive, travel to Poland, and interviews with family and historians, all of which are conducted with great sensitivity and responsiveness. The film earned Pawel the highest mark possible for this work, a unanimous decision by the examiners.
Barry Sullivan (College of Arts and Social Sciences) Barry was the only student to be awarded an A1 for the 7000 word research essay required by the English and Film Programme. Barry's work centred on the war-time propaganda films of the British filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. An indication of the strength of Barry's research is the fact that some of the material he has gathered will be featured in another doctoral students' thesis. Barry also received an overall distinction for his research, which has its roots in the Science Fiction and Film module - it is hoped his work may provide scope for an MLitt dissertation but potentially a PhD and even a possible future monograph. Having only just finished his undergraduate degree (for which he received a strong first), Barry has already begun to make significant contributions to the study of Film and Literature.
Emma Bissett (College of Life Sciences) Emma was awarded a James Black summer scholarship 2012 and followed this up with her Honours year project, both in the lab of Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall in Molecular Microbiology. One of the projects Emma worked on involved the generation and characterisation of new bacterial strains. The high quality data generated from the project is now currently under peer review for publication in the prestigious journal Molecular Microbiology, with Emma as co-author. Dr Stanley-Wall described Emma as being 'amongst the best undergraduate students I have seen'.