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Work by Professors Ursula Martin and Blanca Rodriguez rewarded with Impact Awards


Two of the department’s professors – Ursula Martin and Blanca Rodriguez – have been chosen to receive Impact Awards by the Mathematical, Physical, Engineering and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division at the University of Oxford.

Blanca has won an award in the commercial impact category. Her team has actively engaged with industry to demonstrate the power of computer simulations to evaluate the safety and efficacy of medicines. The team developed the Virtual Assay software to predict the response of populations of human cardiac cells to drugs, using computer simulations. The software can predict whether specific medicines will have nasty side effects, such as lethal arrhythmias, in humans, with higher accuracy than animal experiments. It is currently being used and evaluated in several pharmaceutical companies.

Ursula’s award is for her work engaging non-specialists, particularly women, with mathematics and computer science, through new research on Ada Lovelace’s science. Her work to mark Ada’s 200th anniversary included exhibits at many museums (including the National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park, the Science Museum and the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley) as well as an issue of a children's computing magazine developed in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), which was distributed to UK schools to encourage programming.

The MPLS awards aim to foster and raise awareness of impact by rewarding it at a local level. The awards, which include a pay award of £1,000, will be presented at the MPLS Winter Reception on 6 February.


Ursula Martin
(Professor of Computer Science, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh)