Memorial prize awarded to dedicated pharmacy student

Roz Anderson memorial award winning student Chaye McCullagh with Les Anderson

Published on 09 July 2019

Roz Anderson, who sadly lost her battle with cancer last summer, was a Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Sunderland.  In her 31-year career as a researcher at the University she worked on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, diagnosis of bacterial infections, psoriasis and cancer, but her particular passion was the battle against the rare genetic disorder Cystinosis cancer.

Before her death she organised with her family and University staff an annual prize dedicated in her memory to an outstanding pharmacy student, who would reflects Roz’s devotion to supporting scientific research designed to improve the lives of others, her strong belief in teamwork and making a difference in society by inspiring future generations.

Chaye, 22, from South Shields, was chosen for heroutstanding performance across all areas of the MPharm programme. In particular, she excelled in the areas that Roz would have been most proud, namely antibacterial and anticancer chemotherapy. She was presented with the honour by Roz’s husband Les during the graduation ceremonies at the Stadium of Light.

“I am incredibly honoured to have achieved this award,” Chaye said. “My family are so proud too. I’m the first in my family to graduate from university and this award just makes the day extra special.”

She added: “I never expected to win this, but know it would not have been possible without the incredible support of the staff around me.

“I came to the university at an Open Day, and that was it for me, I didn’t even look anywhere else. It was the best decision I have ever made. “The course has been hard and challenging at times, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

“Unfortunately I was never taught by Roz, but all the stories I have been told about her, she is someone who was so dedicated and caring. I hope I can reflect those qualities in my own career and make her family proud.”

Roz’s Husband Les, said: “I am delighted to present this award to Chaye who was nominated for her outstanding academic achievement during her course. She thoroughly deserves this accolade and we congratulate her.

“This annual award allows us in some way to continue Roz’s work at Sunderland and highlight what she represented.”

Chaye now begins her academic pre-registration training year which is a split post between a local independent pharmacy group, Burdon Pharmacies, and working as an academic tutor in the University’s Sciences Complex.

Roz Anderson herself was an award winner and picked up a WIN Award in the STEM Category at the Network North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2016. Her win was due in part to her strong belief in teamwork and making a difference in society by inspiring future generations. Despite her intense research work, Roz insisted on working alongside undergraduate and PhD students and post-doctoral scientists, working to ensure that young people are advocates for the advancement of medicine and society.

Roz’s work was also not confined purely to the lab, and she made a point of meeting and discussing her work with the children affected by rare genetic disease Cystinosis and their families, which she maintained was an essential aspect of her work.

Adrian Moore, Head of School: Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “We believe Chaye is an outstanding first recipient of this award and reflects the values that Roz was so passionate about. In particular, Chaye has repeatedly demonstrated her insight into how the fundamental sciences are so influential in shaping how patients are managed and treated, particularly those with life-threatening and life-limiting diseases.”