IRDG Chalmers and Dent Student Travel Award

The Chalmers and Dent Student Travel Award has been established to recognise and support an outstanding PhD student through financial support to present their research to an international audience at the annual SciX meeting.  The award is named after two previous chairs of the IRDG, John Chalmers and Geoff Dent, in recognition of their continuing support for the IRDG and in particular for their support of students and early career researchers. Throughout their careers, both John and Geoff have been highly active in the development and promotion of the vibrational spectroscopists of the future in both academia and industry through mentoring, encouragement and inspiration.


2017 IRDG Chalmers and Dent Student Award Recipient
Rachael Cameron,
University of Strathclyde

Rachael obtained her B.Sc. Hons. degree in Biomedical Science at Edinburgh Napier University in 2006. Following this she embarked on a research career in a molecular biology lab within the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow from 2008-2014. Where she published her work on malaria vaccine candidates by disrupting the genome and tracking RNA and protein expression; in a book chapter, a methods paper and co-authored a Nature paper. In 2014 she joined the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology at the University of Strathclyde and the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, to begin her joint centre Ph.D. with integrated masters in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship within centre for doctoral training (CDT) programme of Optical Medical Imaging (OPTIMA). Her research involves using Raman spectroscopy to aid drug development and diagnostics for cancer.
Under the guidance of Prof Duncan Graham and Prof Margaret Frame, she has created a novel system to spectroscopically track the localisation and release of an unlabelled anti-cancer drug from nanoparticles in vitro in 3D using fixed and live cells, with plans to move in vivo. The focus of this work is on utilising the cellular silent region of the spectral fingerprint, where the alkyne vibrations reside. This is with a view to develop more informative pre-clinical study platforms to investigate why therapies fail; due the localisation, retention time, or metabolism, and can these be enhanced by nanodelivery of the drug. Rachael has presented her research at the Oxford Biomedical Imaging Summer School, RSC Early Careers Symposium and the IRDG and Martin and Willis Prize Meeting. Her recent successes include securing an early careers award to attend the Re-Thinking Cancer Workshop (London), where she contributed towards an editorial paper on translational cancer research, and she was awarded the best oral presentation at the TransMed Student Conference in 2016 (Edinburgh).


Award Information and Criteria
This student award will enable an outstanding student to attend and present their research, in the area of vibrational spectroscopy, in one the IRDG sessions at the SciX conference.


  1. This is an annual IRDG award which will be presented to an outstanding PhD student to allow them to attend and present their research on vibrational spectroscopy at the SciX conference.  The 2017 SciX conference is taking place in Reno, Nevada, USA (see
  2. The IRDG Chalmers & Dent award will consist of a guaranteed oral presentation in an IRDG organised SciX session, free registration and £500 towards travel to attend the conference.
  3. The student awardee must be a member of the IRDG on 1st January of the year of the award and still be a registered PhD student at the time of the SciX presentation. 
  4. The student must be carrying out research in the area of vibrational spectroscopy.
  5. Applicants must submit a copy of the conference abstract that they would submit to SciX, their CV and a supporting statement (no more than one side of A4 paper) outlining their achievements and why the attendance at SciX would benefit them.
  6. The deadline for applications will be the 31st March 2017 and applications should be sent to

Past Recipients

2016 Carl Mensch