This year’s Molecular Biology Prize, awarded each year by Cornell University in America, went to Utrecht University’s veterinary medicine student Floryne Buishand. Floryne participated in Cornell’s annual ‘Leadership Program for Veterinary Students’. ‘Her performance was outstanding', according to Prof. Douglas D. McGregor at Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health.
Floryne won the prize for her research titled: ‘Extracellular tissue transglutaminase: a novel target for glioblastoma therapy’. Her research showed that neutralising the protein TGase can have a significant effect on the treatment of brain tumours. TGase is secreted by gliobastoma cells, a type of brain tumour cells. Until Floryne Buishand chose the function of TGase in a human gliobastoma cell line for her research, scientists had been unclear as to the function of TGase in brain tumours.
The prize consists of the latest edition of the book Molecular biology of the cell by Bruce Alberts et al., signed by Floryne’s research mentors and by the Directors of the Leadership Program. The book, which has been the standard text in this field for decades, was presented to Floryne on 3 September by Prof. Jos Verheijden, Research Director of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
In the veterinary world, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is considered one of the top schools. Each year, 25 students participate in the Leadership Programme that the American university organises for veterinary medicine students. The Leadership Programme offers veterinary students the opportunity to expand their research skills over the summer months. This year, three students from Utrecht University participated in the programme; Sarah van Rijn and Jolanda Verhoef accompanied Floryne Buishand to Cornell. More information on the Leadership Programme is available on the website.