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 earlycareer 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.

2018 IRDG Chalmers and Dent Student Award Recipient
Anastasia Kapara, University of Strathclyde/ University of Edinburgh

Anastasia obtained her B.Sc. Hons. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Democritus University of Thrace, in 2012. Afterwards, she acquired her M.Sc. (Dist.) in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University in 2014. Following this, she embarked on an industrial career in Piramal Healthcare Pharma Solutions, as a Senior Protein Scientist. Anastasia has also worked under the Greek National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) as a Laboratory Assistant from 2011-2013. In 2015, she joined OPTIMA Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde to begin her joint Ph.D. Her research is conducted into the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology, at the University of Strathclyde, and Cancer Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh and involves integrated master’s in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship within the Business School of the University of Edinburgh. Her project involves using Raman spectroscopy to image and distinguish breast cancer using responsive reporters. Specifically, under the directions from Prof Karen Faulds, Prof Val Brunton and Prof Duncan Graham, Anastasia has managed to create a platform for targeting, detecting and tracking valid biomarkers in cancer cells simultaneously, using functionalized gold nanoparticles. The novel probes show low cellular toxicity and good biocompatibility in vitro, in 3D using fixed and live cells. Additionally, the Raman cell mapping revealed that there is a strong targeting effect of the probes into different cell lines based on their functionalization properties. Parallel experiments showed that there is lower probe accumulation, in cells treated with anticancer drugs that induce the target’s degradation. These data indicate that the novel probes could be utilized to distinguish cancer cells for direct molecular imaging and quantification biomarkers in living breast cancer cells, and inform about the efficiency of drug candidates, with the advantages of high sensitivity and biocompatibility. Anastasia has presented her research at the Spring SciX Conference under the Infrared Raman Discussion Group, the Imperial Biomedical Imaging Summer School and the RSC Biorthogonal Symposium. This year she has been awarded with the SULSA Postdoctoral and Early Career Research Exchange (PECRE) grant, the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund grant and the Go Abroad Fund grant awarded by the University of Edinburgh. Anastasia is associate member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC), member of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS), member of the International Society for Clinical Spectroscopy (CLIRSPEC) and member of the Infrared and Raman Discussion Group (IRDG).

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



Carl Mensch

Rachael Cameron