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Bristol researcher announced as winner of prestigious Royal Microscopy Research Award

Judith Martell

Press release issued: 9 December 2021

Senior Electron Microscopist Judith Mantell has won the 2021 RMS Vice Presidents’ Award for her microscopy research and laboratory support.

Mrs Mantell is a well-known and respected figure in the UK electron microscopy (EM) community. She has been the senior electron microscopist of the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility at the University of Bristol since its establishment.

Having initially spent time with microscopy suppliers such as Philips and Oxford Instruments, she joined the facility in 2007 and was instrumental in the set-up of the new EM unit.

Colleagues have praised Mrs Mantell for her patience and dedication in keeping the EM unit afloat, and for her expert knowledge as a teacher – qualities she has also deployed to great effect on RMS courses, and as a member of the organising committee of the Cryo Microscopy Group.

During her time at Bristol, she has helped establish the EM unit as a highly regarded facility, introducing new techniques such as STEM tomography and cryo SEM. She has authored more than 50 research papers, for which the EM provided by Judith has often been the critical piece of evidence lifting the impact of the research.

In 2016, Bristol was awarded a welcome grant to set up a new dedicated cryo EM facility. Selflessly, Mrs Mantell was instrumental in the design, installation, and initial running of the facility – despite the fact she would not be directly involved going forward.

Mrs Mantell said: "I was astonished but then delighted and honoured to receive this award.

“It recognises the important, but often overlooked, contribution of specialist support staff to research and to the training of the next generation of scientists. It means a lot that my work has been, and is, valued by my peers and colleagues in the University and the wider microscopy community."

RMS Vice President Dr Peter O’Toole said: “Judith is quite evidently a major asset to her facility and all those that she has helped and taught both internally and external to Bristol.”

Fellow RMS Vice President Prof Susan Anderson added: "Her expertise has not only elevated the quality of research being carried out, but also continues to earn the respect of colleagues across the EM community. We are delighted to be able to take this opportunity to acknowledge these often unseen efforts.”

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