Frank (Zhao Rui) Zhang receives the ETH medal for his master thesis "Quantifying Proliferation of RTgill-W1 Cell Line Under Serum Free Conditions: A Novel 96-Well Plate Format Assay". The medal is awarded annually for outstanding master's and doctoral theses at ETH Zurich.
Under the supervision of Kristin Schirmer and Barbara Jozef, Frank has developed a protocol in his work at Eawag to be able to carry out and analyse a "high-throughput" in vitro test with fish cells. Such a test is important on the way to the goal of animal-free testing of chemicals.
According to Barbara, who works as a postdoc in Kristin's group and supervised Frank's master's thesis, the award is well deserved: “This master's thesis lays the foundations for further development of a great toolbox that can help answer some still unknown questions, like what molecular pathways lead to the reduced fish cell proliferation that we observe upon chemical exposure. By fostering scientific freedom and supporting young people at the very beginning of their careers, we are investing in future generations”.
Since receiving his Master's degree from ETH Zurich in January, Frank has been working in Canada for an environmental health and safety consultancy. For Frank, the medal is a physical memento of his time at Eawag: “I think of this award as a sort of cherry on top of the amazing experience I had at UTOX and EAWAG as a whole. I am proud of the research that I completed at Eawag during my Master's thesis and happy to have met and collaborated with many amazing people. Namely, without the support of Kristin, my supervisor Barbara, and several of my Utox colleagues, the research that earned me this award would not have been possible. Now I will have this medal to always serve as a physical reminder of my accomplishments and the wonderful time I had at Eawag”