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Leeds physicist is Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year

Leeds physicist is Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year

Professor Helen Gleeson has won the Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year category in this year’s Times Higher Education Awards, announced last night.

An experimental physicist and Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, Professor Gleeson works in the area of soft matter, primarily liquid crystals – the materials in flat screen displays.

She has supervised 31 PhD researchers over the last 28 years and her students have gone on to become successful academics who lead their own research groups, working in research management and support services, as well as in world-leading technology companies.

Professor Gleeson said: “I was speechless that my students nominated me for this award and I feel very honoured to have won, especially in such august company. Congratulations to everyone on the shortlist.

Supporting students while they learn is a privilege. I work with exceptional students and I’m very proud that they have recognised me in this way.

Professor Helen Gleeson

“Supporting students while they learn is a privilege. I work with exceptional students and I’m very proud that they have recognised me in this way.”

This year, four of her current PhD students nominated her for the award.

One of them, Dr Devesh Mistry, said: “Helen is an inspiring and encouraging supervisor who has done an incredible job mentoring her many PhD students, allowing them to develop and extract the most out of their PhD experiences.

“Her contagious passion for research, teaching, and outreach, makes her an outstanding role model to future scientists. I am honoured to have been her PhD student."

Dr Mistry’s research includes a focus on developing a new eye lens, made from the same material found in smartphone and TV screens, which could restore long-sightedness in older people.

Many of Professor Gleeson’s PhD projects have been supported by the industry, especially pharmaceutical giant Merck, which last year awarded the University a £1million research contract.

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