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Among “the best Europe has to offer”

14 March 2008

Dr Valerie O'Donnel receiving the Marie Curie Award

A School of Medicine researcher’s world-leading work on free radicals in inflammation has been honoured at the annual European science awards ceremony in Brussels.

Dr Valerie O’Donnell, Reader in Medical Biochemistry & Immunology, won a €50,000 (£38,000) Marie Curie Excellence Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in her field.

She won the award for studies on the role of messenger molecules derived from lipids in inflammation and the function of body’s immune cells. Dr O’Donnell has a particular interest in the role of small molecules such as nitric oxide (NO) and lipid peroxides. Early in her career, a Marie Curie Fellowship helped to launch her on a path which has taken her to the leading edge of research in her field.

The European Science Awards are presented in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements by leading EU scientists participating in European researcher exchange programmes, multinational research teams and in science communication. The Marie Curie Excellence Awards, established in 2003, aim to widen researchers’ prospects and promote excellence in EU research. Researchers of any nationality and in all fields of research previously funded by Marie Curie Schemes are eligible.

Dr O’Donnell said: "I’m delighted to have won one of Europe’s leading science awards and with the boost it will give my research. The Marie Curie fund has played an important role in my career, having also provided me with a fellowship."

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, who presented the awards, said: "These awards represent the best that Europe has to offer. They honour qualities that are important for all scientists, researchers, inventors and science communicators – excellence, openness and creativity."

Dr O’Donnell’s success follows that of Dr Paola Borri of the School of Biosciences, who received a Marie Curie Excellence Award two years ago for cross-disciplinary research at the interface between laser optics, cell biology and medicine.