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CHAPS student wins King's 2014 Tadion- Rideal Prize

The Tadion- Rideal prize for 2014 has been awarded to Chibeza Agley from the Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS). 

This prize is awarded to the postgraduate student of King’s College London who has carried out leading research in molecular science. It is given for the “doctorate and research directly associated with the award of the doctorate showing the greatest evidence of originality and promise, together with experimental and/or theoretical skill”. 

Chibeza’s thesis was entitled “Assessment of cell fate and the role of Wnt-ß-catenin signalling in human primary skeletal muscle-derived cells”. 

Chibeza graduated from Brunel University with a 1st class degree in Sports Science and then from King’s with a Master’s degree (Distinction) in Human and Applied Physiology. Given that his background was not in molecular science, this award is all the more impressive. 

Awarded a School of Biomedical Sciences PhD studentship, and supervised by Professor Stephen Harridge, his research has increased our understating of human muscle regenerative biology. One of his key findings, published recently in the Journal of Cell Science, being the identification of human muscle fibroblast (connective tissue) cells as having the potential to differentiate into adipocytes (fat cells). The behaviour of this cell type being in stark contrast to human muscle stem cells (satellite cells) which were previously thought to be a source of adipocytes, but which are in fact resistant to change. 

This work is important in increasing our understanding of the fibro-fatty muscle degeneration which is a hallmark of neuromuscular disease and frail old age. Following his PhD, Chibeza is now undertaking post-doctoral research at the Stem Cell Institute in Cambridge. 

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