We are delighted to announce that Notting Hill & Ealing High alumna Dr Nirupa Murugaesu has won the 2018 GDST Alumna of the Year Award. Nirupa received the highest number of votes from GDST students, staff and alumnae, and was honoured for her outstanding achievements at the GDST Annual Reception.
Nirupa is the Clinical Lead for Molecular Oncology at Genomics England. She provides clinical leadership and oversight of the Cancer Programme for The 100,000 Genomes Project, the groundbreaking genome sequencing project – and the largest national sequencing project of its kind in the world - set up to harness the power of genomics in the treatment of rare diseases and cancers.
The project involves sequencing the DNA codes of cancer patients, in order to be able to provide better, earlier diagnoses and personal care for sufferers. By comparing DNA from a tumour and from a patient’s normal, healthy, cell precise changes are identified, which then inform doctors about the best treatment for individual patients. The project is not only transforming cancer care in the NHS, but is also helping to kick-start the genomic industry in the UK. Her work involves engagement of the UK clinical academic community to enhance delivery of molecular testing in NHS clinical cancer care and establish a national research platform of linked molecular and clinical data.
We are also delighted to announce that Anna Appleby, alumna of Central Newcastle High School (now Newcastle High School for Girls) was awarded the GDST Trailblazer accolade.
Anna is a composer who has achieved early acclaim, standing out in a field traditionally seen as a male preserve. She believes in using music to give voice to the voiceless in society and has worked extensively with community music groups, including Streetwise Opera, a charity which uses music to empower people who have experienced homelessness. She was the sixth and youngest-ever Music Fellow with Rambert Dance Company, and has premiered works with choreographers at the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre River Stage. Anna continues to champion the work of female composers, including those she teaches.
The GDST Alumna of the Year Award aims to recognise the varied achievements of our alumnae. Over 70,000 alumnae and students are encouraged to vote for a winner from a shortlist of high-achieving nominees. Nirupa joins an impressive list of winners from previous years including Cressida Dick, the Met's first female Commissioner and Oscar award-winning costume designer, Jenny Beavan OBE.