Early-career Oxford chemists celebrated at STEM for BRITAIN 2023

Early-career Oxford chemists celebrated at STEM for BRITAIN 2023

Congratulations to Jennifer Redmond and Yujia Zhang, who were selected as finalists in the annual STEM for BRITAIN competition. The competition celebrates early-career researchers, who are selected to present their research to MPs and peers in the Houses of Parliament.

Jennifer Redmond, DPhil in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry (Shortlisted: Chemistry) and Yujia Zhang, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Chemistry (Shortlisted: Chemistry)

Jennifer is a final year DPhil student in the Ritchie group in Physical Chemistry, and Yujia is a postdoctoral researcher in Hagan Bayley's lab. Their work was judged against other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind, and they were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants for this event.

Jennifer Redmond and Anneliese Dodds at STEM for BRITAIN 2023

DPhil student Jennifer Redmond speaks to Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds at STEM for BRITAIN 2023

Jennifer presented her poster entitled "Molecular Flow Sensing for Early Detection of Lung Abnormalities in Young Smokers", describing how this novel technique for assessing lung function is able to detect abnormal lung physiology in young smokers with a lower cumulative smoking history than existing techniques. The ability to detect abnormal lung function at an earlier stage could have important implications for the early identification of smoking-related lung disease as well as the development of new treatments. This work forms part of an ongoing collaboration between the Ritchie Group in Physical Chemistry and the Robbins Group in Physiology, for which the team was awarded the 2022 RSC’s Analytical Division Horizon Prize: Sir George Stokes Award.

Reflecting on the STEM for Britain event, Jennifer said:

It was such a great experience to discuss my research and its applications with a range of people including fellow early-career researchers, the competition judges and politicians, including Oxford MP Anneliese Dodds. The broad range of innovative research within chemistry and other disciplines was really inspiring and it was fantastic to see and be a part of the enthusiastic dialogue between scientists and policymakers.

Yujia presented a poster titled "A Microscale Soft Ionic Power Source drives Neuronal Stimulation". As part of the team in the Bayley group, his work focuses on the development of multifunctional smart droplet systems for biomedical engineering, soft implants, and synthetic tissues. As well as the two entrants from the Department of Chemistry, Engineering DPhil student Dylan Sherman received the Silver medal in the Chemistry category for his work on a water purity indicator.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said:

This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.