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Scholarship grant for international study

14 July 2010

Stuart being presented with his award by Commander JMD Curteis, Master of  the Welsh Livery GuildStuart being presented with his award by Commander JMD Curteis, Master of the Welsh Livery Guild

Stuart Hanmer, a School of Biosciences PhD student, is on his way to Kiel in Germany, thanks to a Welsh Livery Guild Travel Scholarship.

Stuart will be studying a molecular signalling mechanism, ATP-gated ion channels, in the freshwater organism, Hydra vulgaris.

The Welsh Livery Guild is supporting Stuart on a two-month visit to the University of Kiel. Kiel is a world-leader in the study of transgenic forms of Hydra and Stuart intends to learn techniques that he can bring back to Cardiff.

The Welsh Livery Guild was formed to promote education, science and the fine arts. In particular, it promotes skills and associated professional activities.

Stuart said: "We have been successful in cloning an ATP-gated ion channel from Hydra vulgaris and we hope that my visit to Kiel will enable us to uncover the physiological function of this receptor channel in this organism. Understanding the function of this receptor in early organisms, such as Hydra may also have implications in mammalian research into these ATP-gated ion channels.

"Kiel is at the forefront for this particular technique. If I can bring it back, Cardiff will be the only place in the UK which can offer it, and that will create the possibility of further collaborations both within the Cardiff University and other organisations.

"I am very grateful to the Guild for this fantastic opportunity. I’ve never been to Germany before and I’m looking forward to learning about scientific approaches in a different country."

Stuart is in his first year of PhD study, having graduated at the School in Biomedical Science and Physiology last year. He is being supervised by Dr Wynand van der Goes van Naters and Professor Paul Kemp.

Professor Ole Petersen, Director of the School of Biosciences, said: "We are delighted that the Welsh Livery Guild is supporting Stuart in this way. The new techniques which he will learn at Kiel are very much in keeping with the Guild’s aim of building the skills base in Wales."

Another Cardiff University student, Dena Mohamed of the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, has also won a Welsh Livery Guild Travel Scholarship, to study women’s magazines in Dubai.