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Kate's hard work pays off with CREST Award

Weeks of hard work during the summer holidays has been rewarded for Haileybury student, Kate Cullen, who was presented with a gold CREST (Creativity in Engineering, Science and Technology) Award by Lord Oxburgh at a ceremony held on Monday, 17 November 2003 at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage.

Kate was able to undertake her project after she received a Nuffield Science bursary earlier in the year. She spent more than 100 hours working in laboratories at the Open University under the supervision of one of the lecturers.

The research was part of an investigation into the effect of a high fat diet on the immune system. At issue was the question of whether dietary fat affects specific gene expression.

The aim of Kate’s work was to find the number of cycles of Polymerase Chain Reaction and what temperature was required in order to see bands of mRNA relating to the PPAR-y receptor when samples are run on a gel.

Another Haileybury student, Lia Dye, also received a Nuffield Science bursary for her work on research surrounding diagnostic tests for Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease and devising a set of questions and answers which are being made available to the public via the Health Protection Agency website.

Roger Woodburn, head of the Science department at Haileybury, says the bursaries enabled Kate and Lia to make very productive use of their summer holidays in terms of both work with front line research groups and providing material for their IB Extended Essay.

"It was an opportunity to see the relevance of their work in science classes and the resulting boost to their academic confidence has been very marked.

"I would encourage anyone, be they A level or IB students, to consider very seriously the prospect of getting involved with one of these research projects next year through SETPOINT," he says.

CREST provides students with a nationally accredited award for completing experimental science or technology projects. Students choose, carry out and evaluate their own project with guidance from a teacher/supervisor. Students gaining CREST Awards have to show that they have been creative, that they have persevered and that they have carried out experimental research into a topic which has applications in the everyday world.