Tom Fayle won the 2009 Thomas Henry Huxley Award and Marsh Prize, which is awarded for original work in zoology, based on a completed PhD thesis. Haihan Tan won the 2009 Charles Darwin Award given for outstanding work in zoology, based on an undergraduate project.
Tom Fayle’s thesis “Ant community structure in a rainforest microcosm” used an elegant model system – the ant communities in a fern from the forest canopy – to investigate the important question of what maintains the high species diversity of insect communities in the tropics. The work was financed by a NERC studentship and was carried out at the Danum Valley Field Station in Sabah Malaysia, which is supported by the Royal Society. Tom was supervised by William Foster, in Cambridge, and Paul Eggleton at the Natural History Museum, London.
Haihan Tan’s project “Novel roles of nuclear receptors in cell fate decisions between neural stem cells and differentiated progeny in Drosophila” investigated the molecular mechanisms regulating the behaviour of stem cells in the central nervous system. The work was carried out at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, where Haihan was supervised by Tony Southall and Andrea Brand.
The Cambridge Zoology Department has a distinguished track-record for both these awards: the T H Huxley award has been given to a PhD student from the Department in six out of the last fifteen years, and the Charles Darwin award to a zoology undergraduate in two of the last four years.