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16 July 2016

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St Hugh’s Alumna Dr Sam Giles in the news

Another former St Hugh’s College student has featured in the news this week.

Outside of the world of politics, the success of  another St Hugh’s College Alumna, Dr Sam Giles (DPhil 2015), has also been in the news in recent days.

News about Dr Sam Giles' receiving of a Fellowship and an example of her work
The braincase and brain of a 380 million year old fish, Mimipiscis, reconstructed using CT scanning

Dr Sam Giles, who is now a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church College researching Paleobiology, has received the L’Oreal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Women in Science Fellowship. This highly sought after Fellowship awards £15,000 to help continue and further the recipients research. Dr Giles intends to use the funding to supplement her research plans, purchase equipment vital to her work and to aid travel to international conferences. The Fellowship programme aims to support as well as to increase the overall number of women who are working in the sciences.

Her research focuses on jawed vertebrates (animals with backbones), a group that today includes over 60,000 species. Dr Giles explains that she uses: “x-ray tomography (CT scanning) to ‘virtually’ cut through the fossils to look at their internal and external features, which also allows me to build 3D reconstructions of their anatomy.

“This helps me answer questions about the origins of the largest living group of vertebrates, the ray-finned fishes, a group containing over 30,000 species (including animals familiar from the aquarium and fishmonger), with ramifications for understanding rates of gene mutation and evolutionary change.”

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