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The Matt Wilson Scholarship

Matthew (“Matt”) Wilson studied at King’s College London and obtained an MSc in “Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research” in October 2011. He graduated with Distinction, ranked 2nd of 33 students, notably whilst undergoing treatment for cancer throughout his studies. The picture on the right shows Matt at his graduation.

In memory of Matt’s exemplary contributions, we initially set up the Matt Wilson Prize, awarded annually to the “best overall performing” Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MSc student.

In addition, and thanks to a generous donation from Matt’s family, we were able to establish a  scholarship scheme designed to support  the enhancement of research projects. Please browse through the eclectic mix of impacting research this has enabled – and many more success stories will follow over the coming years. The scholarship is a wonderful way to ensure that Matt’s legacy lives on!

Recipients of the Matt Wilson Scholarship 2021/2022

Chiara Cipollone

During my MSci in Biochemistry, my dissertation focused on investigating the utility of the human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS), as a reporter gene to track cancer metastasis and cell-based therapies. The aim of my project was to explore any possible reporter-induced changes, at the cellular and molecular level. Thanks to the Matt Wilson Scholarship, I was able to expand my project by further exploring these changes at the transcriptomic level, through performing RNA sequencing experiments. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity, and I will carry all the invaluable skills I have learnt forward, as I pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Chiara Cipollone
MSci Biochemistry


Claire Lyon

My project assessed how the mineral profiles and protein content of vegan and vegetarian burgers, as well as various insect species, compared against beef burgers. This involved analysing their total, bioaccessible (soluble) and bioavailable (absorbed by cells) Fe, Zn, Ca, Cu, Mg and Mn contents. The primary focus was to find sustainable meat alternatives with the capacity to satisfy the body’s Fe and Zn requirements.

The scholarship allowed me to diverge from the main project aims, whereby I additionally characterised the elements within the insects. Energy dispersive spectroscopy was used alongside scanning and transmission electron microscopy to uncover the physical locations of the elements within and on the surface of insects. Although further work will be needed to optimise the processing protocol for the insects, the scholarship allowed me to experience additional sample preparation and processing techniques beyond that commonly used in nutrition.

Claire Lyon
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MSc



My research project combined in silico, in vitro and in vivo laboratory techniques to develop an exciting new predictive methodology, to identify immune-modulating chemicals. The study validated these predictions made using ToxCast database with non-protected zebrafish. The Matt Wilson scholarship enabled us to observe and examine the effects of immuno-chemicals on the zebrafish neutrophils, using advanced fluorescent microscopy. This elucidated the extent of the toxic effect the chemical had on our organism's immune system.

Salwa Zabir
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MSc


Lauren Pedler hi-res

The Matt Wilson Scholarship provided access to training in imaging flow cytometry and permitted my attendance to the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) Focused Meeting on Haemoglobin switching in Crete! This immensely advanced my project and enabled it to evolve into investigating the characteristics of sickle cell disease, particularly focusing on ineffective erythropoiesis. The was explored through the cellular and molecular analysis of the bone marrow niche and spleen, using methods including Flow Cytometry and Western Blot analysis. The results from this study are in progress to be published in a scientific journal, which would not have been possible without the support provided by the scholarship!

Lauren Pedler
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MSc


Sara Costa Fernandes

The scholarship provided an ideal opportunity to take this topic to the next level, the transcriptomics provided additional insights into the organism’s response to xenobiotic exposure comparing acute lab exposures to soil from mine sites. The additional skills are scientifically intriguing and have enabled me to apply cutting-edge current molecular technologies. In turn, the scholarship offered a perfect addition to the set of skills I picked up throughout my research project which will be of great value for my further career as a scientist.

Sara Costa Fernandes
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MSc



I was very honoured and privileged to receive the Matt Wilson Scholarship as support throughout my MRes project, focusing on Drosophila as a model for studying epileptic seizures and investigating the role of EPG5, which is a key autophagy regulator that causes Vici syndrome in humans and epileptic seizures in Drosophila.

Thanks to the scholarship, I had a chance to train in mouse handling and extending my project not only using Drosophila but also using the murine model in collaboration with a mice behaviour expert lab, even though I had to face the fact that working with mice can be precarious and the experimental plan can always be changed due to reglementary issues.

However, this brought me another chance to focus more in-depth on the Drosophila model and present a poster on this at my first international conference, Neruofly 2022, in France. It was a great opportunity to get the chance to meet interdisciplinary scientists across the world, build up new connections and experience the real science world. By sharing ideas and data, I was able to learn cutting-edge technologies and a broad range of the latest neuroscience knowledge.

Without the scholarship, I would not be able to follow the detailed process of mice experiments and their regulation nor get a life-changing experience at my first international conference.

Seo-hyun Park
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MRes


Yiting Tsai

Hematological diseases involve complex changes in gene expression critical to therapy. Transposable elements, repetitive sequences comprising a substantial portion of the human genome, are postulated to play an important role in hematological diseases. Previous studies struggle to capture such intricate details through bulk analysis, while single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), a cutting-edge technology, allows scientists to study the gene expression at finer resolution. Thanks to this scholarship, I could include scRNA-seq data of hematological disease samples in my master research. The data not only is perfect to investigate the transcriptome and microenvironment in patients, but it also enables me to study the change in the expression of transposable elements and their link to hematological diseases. The Matt Wilson Scholarship has greatly enriched my study.

Yiting Tsai
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MRes


Matt Wilson at his graduation

Matt worked in my laboratory for six months. His research was performed with the best of diligence and the highest degree of intellectual engagement and this provided remarkable novel insights into the mode of inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatases. Matt participated in all steps of preparing the manuscript we published as a Report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry the following year (M. Wilson, C. Hogstrand, W. Maret (2012) Picomolar concentrations of free zinc(II) ions regulate receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase β activity. J. Biol. Chem 287, 9322-6). The publication criteria requires exceptional novelty, significance and broad interest and the quality of an article must fall within the top 5 percent of all articles published in the journal. Testament of Matt’s contribution to science is the fact that his paper has, to date, been cited over 160 times by the research community.

Prof Wolfgang Maret, Matt’s Project Supervisor

Matt was an incredibly modest person who did not want classmates and colleagues to know about his ongoing Cancer treatment during his MSc. Following the impressive performance in his MSc, he moved to Germany to study for his PhD in Virology but unfortunately had to return to the UK for further treatment. Despite being ill, his determination was unshaken, and he inquired whether he could continue to work with Prof Maret whilst being treated. Unfortunately, this second period of work did not come to fruition due to the untimely loss of his life. He will be remembered for his equanimity under the worst circumstances, his friendliness, and his true dedication to the course and meaning of scientific work.

Prof Stephen Sturzenbaum, Director of Matt’s MSc

Gian Hobbs, recipient of the 2020/2021 Matt Wilson Scholarship

Gian Hobbs graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a BSc in Pharmacology. As an undergraduate, Gian was able to fine tune his practical skills during his wet lab dissertation assessing reactivity of both mouse and human gastrointestinal tissues. This experience stimulated his interest in in vivo experimentation which led him to join the Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research MRes at King’s College London. Gian began his MRes in 2020, during which he had the opportunity to undertake a 9-month research project in the field of molecular toxicology. His research aims to determine the vital pathways involved in the mechanistic processing of carcinogens, in particular Benzo[a]pyrene, in "humanized" nematodes (transgenic C. elegans). Thanks to the scholarship, Gian was able to utilize whole genome sequencing to identify the mutational signatures in C. elegans exposed to carcinogens. Following his MRes, Gian intends to start a PhD and then pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Gian Hobbs

Chien-Ting Feng, recipient of the 2019/2020 Matt Wilson Scholarship

Chien-Ting Feng graduated with an MSc in Biomedical Sciences from National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan in 2019, then commenced with her MRes at King’s College London to pursue her interests in stem cell biology. She undertook an ambitious programme to create patient-derived Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) to model the rare Hajdu-Cheney Syndrome (HCS), characterized by excessive bone loss. KCL geneticists had previously identified activating mutations in NOTCH2 in HCS patients and Chien-Ting’ project involved the isolation and expansion of primary cells from a HCS patient. The Matt Wilson scholarship enabled Chien-Ting to perform proof-of-concept experiments which demonstrated that the inhibition of NOTCH2 signalling, via a DAPT inhibitor, blocks bone loss in vitro. This essential experiment was instrumental in moving the project forward and Chien-Ting now intends to pursue a PhD in disease modelling using iPSC technology.

Chien-Ting Feng hi-res

Noor Siksek, recipient of the 2018/2019 Matt Wilson Scholarship

Noor Siksek graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Leicester. As an undergraduate, Noor specialised in biotechnology researching how molecular imprinted polymers can be used for drug delivery to cancer cells. Noor began her MSc at King’s College London in 2018, during which she had the opportunity to conduct a 6-month research project in the field of radiobiology. Her research aims to assess the safety of the imaging radiopharmaceutical 99mTcO4- for non-invasive SPECT imaging. Thanks to the scholarship, she was able to expand her project to include in-vivo imaging and radionuclide therapy and has submitted the work for presentation at the Auger Symposium in Oxford to be held in August 2019. Noor intends to start her PhD in the same field and pursue a career in academic research.

Noor Siksek recipient of the 2018 Matt Wilson Scholarship