Yasin Dagdas

Yasin Dagdas

Scholar receives prestigious international awards

An Exeter PhD scholar has been awarded an international prize in recognition of his work for the second time this year.  

Yasin Dagdas is part of a team at the University researching a fungal plant pathogen called Rice Blast Fungus, which is responsible for major crop losses of rice and wheat in parts of the world.

The research team is led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Nick Talbot who is known across the globe as the leading authority on Rice Blast Disease research.

Yasin was able to join the team thanks to the generosity of a Halpin PhD scholarship. This has given him the chance to study the cellular biology of the fungus and how that impacts on infection-related development. 

As a result of his work, Yasin was awarded the Howard Eggins Prize for the best research presentation at an International Congress on Fungal Development and Pathogenesis held recently at Exeter.

He won the prize against very strong competition from representatives across the world from top universities.

It is the second award for Yasin this year; at the 26th Fungal Genetics Conference in Asilomar in the US he was awarded the Genetics Society of America prize for best poster.

Yasin said: “Being awarded a PhD studentship in a world class laboratory is what you need to have a successful scientific career. So I feel very lucky to be a Halpin Scholar and am truly grateful to Claire and Les Halpin for providing me with this amazing opportunity.”

Among the benefits Yasin receives from the scholarship is the opportunity to visit international conferences as part of his work. It also provides for support after graduation to help the next stage of the scholar’s scientific development. 

“It is wonderful to see Yasin doing so well,” said Les Halpin who funds the scholarship along with his wife, Claire.

“Talented scientists like Yasin under the leadership of Professor Talbot are already making strides into understanding Rice Blast Disease and consequently finding ways to control it.

“This is why we fund such scholarships, to help scientists like Yasin reach their full potential. They in turn will make the discoveries which will really change peoples’ lives across the world.”

Professor Nick Talbot said: “We are very grateful to the Halpins and others like them for funding scholarships for individuals like Yasin.

“This is the second major prize Yasin has won and he has already published two research papers. He has a fine research career ahead of him and his life has truly been changed by the Halpin scholarship he has received.

“This is what scholarships are all about and it’s wonderful to see the real difference they can make.”

Date: 27 October 2011

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