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Viktorija Kaminskaite, who has received a prestigious award.

Exeter Medicine student awarded for project on thyroid cancer

A Genomic Medicine student at the University of Exeter has received a prestigious national student surgery award of £3,000 for her project on thyroid cancer. Her work aims to help clinicians find the right treatment and care for each patient.

Viktorija Kaminskaite has been given the Intercalated Degree in Surgery Award 2020/21 by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Her project is trying to characterise the underlying genetics of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid disease in order to help provide guidance for clinicians in their patient assessments to find the right treatment and care. Viktorija is analysing data from UK Biobank, which includes detailed genomic health information on 500,000 people.

Viktorija is currently studying for an additional Master’s degree in Genomic Medicine, intercalating for one year from her Medicine studies. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity to advance patient care, supporting over 28,000 members in the UK and internationally. It grants the award annually to students who are currently intercalating with a project related to a surgical field. Intercalating allows students to take out a year from their Medical degree to study another undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

Viktorija said: “I’m so grateful to my supervisors and to the Royal College for the award. It will support me in paying rent and living costs for the year, which is incredibly helpful. I’ve been working part time alongside my studies in order to financially support myself, so it really does take away the pressure and I’m glad I will be able to put all my efforts into bringing my project forwards.”

Viktorija’s project is being supervised by Dr Jess Tyrrell, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter’s College of Medicine and Health, and Mr Joel Smith, Ear Nose and Throat Consultant at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, who both supported Viktorija in her application for the award.

Dr Jessica Tyrrell said: “We’re so proud of Viktorija, who has made a really significant contribution to our research around thyroid cancer genetics. She’s an absolute asset and this award is very well deserved. I’m looking forward to seeing her go on to a wonderful medical career, hopefully with strong links to medical research.”

Date: 27 April 2021

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