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Danckwerts-Pergamon Prize for Jacob Brubert

last modified Jul 13, 2017 03:15 PM

The 2016 Danckwerts-Pergamon Prize for the best thesis has been awarded to Jacob Brubert.

The Danckwerts-Pergamon Prize is awarded by the Department each year for the best PhD dissertation on a subject connected with Chemical Engineering. The winner is chosen from those students who gained their PhDs in the preceding calendar year.

Jacob's PhD thesis was entitled "A novel polymeric prosthetic heart valve: design, manufacture, and testing". He did his PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Geoff Moggridge, where he worked on a new prosthetic valve to treat heart valve disease. His aim was to overcome the limitations of current prostheses, namely the poor durability of 'bioprosthetic' valves (made from decellularized animal tissues), and the need for lifelong anti-clotting drugs (such as warfarin) with 'mechanical' prostheses. The microstructure of the natural valve normally contributes to its durability, so he sought to recreate this using a self-assembling block copolymer in our polymeric valve.

He says, "I was fortunate to be able to perform a broad range of experiments, including biocompatibility testing of the material (in Tuebingen, Germany), to injection moulding and modelling the manufacture, and testing of the valve in our pulsatile rigs. Unfortunately, at the end of my PhD (in 2015) the durability of the valve was insufficient, so it won't be implanted into humans anytime soon. However, with the support of the British Heart Foundation, Drs Joanna Stasiak, Marta Serrani, and Eugenia Biral are continuing development with more promising results."

He added, "I was honoured to receive the Danckwerts-Pergamon prize. Many colleagues and collaborators (too many to list here) helped me with my research throughout my PhD, and I am proud to have produced a prize-winning thesis based upon that work. My thesis can be found here https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/256312
Or, if you don't have the time for the full volume, I also translated it into the medium of dance for the annual Dance Your PhD competition, which can be found here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/and-winner-year-s-dance-your-phd-contest

"Upon completing my PhD I moved to Oxford for medical school. However, you may see me from time to time in the department as I am still involved with the Moggridge group, though I am now working on a device to repair the mitral valve."

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