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Gulnar Abdullayeva has been honoured with the "Presidential Award 2024 for Youth" by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for her distinction in the field of Science. Presidential Awards for Youth are granted to people particularly distinguished in science, education, culture, youth policy, youth work, public and socially-oriented activities, innovations and entrepreneurship.

Gulnar successfully completed her BSc in Biology at Baku State University, Azerbaijan in 2016. After graduating from the BSc with honours, her enthusiasm for science increased further in the intricacies of biology with an honorary MSc degree in Molecular Biology from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies, Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Gulnar has been a DPhil student at St Cross College, Oxford since October 2019, and has had the privilege of working closely with an incredible St Cross team throughout her time as a Student Vice-President

During her DPhil, Gulnar investigated the mechanisms of cell differentiation in colorectal cancer. The main aims of her project are to identify new potential factors that trigger cell differentiation and explore which primary defects affect cell differentiation in colorectal cancer. Improved understanding of cell differentiation will contribute to the treatment of colorectal carcinoma.

Talking of the award, Gulnar expressed gratitude for being selected for her work:
'This award holds particular significance in my life. It is an incredible privilege and honour for me to have received the Presidential Award for Youth. I express my deepest gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the attention, care, support, and trust he has extended to the youth.

'I am very grateful to the Islamic Development Bank for granting me the scholarship and Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan for covering the bench fees and for their tremendous support throughout my studies. I am sincerely thankful to St Cross College and the Department of Oncology for their invaluable assistance and support.

'I would like to extend my thanks to Professor Sir Walter Bodmer for giving me an amazing opportunity to do my research in the Cancer and Immunogenetics laboratory, Department of Oncology. Working under Professor Sir Walter Bodmer’s supervision is an immense pride, as well as an enriching experience for me. I am also extremely thankful to Academician Professor Irada Huseynova, my supervisor in Azerbaijan. I am deeply inspired by her dedication, relentless motivation and expertise in solving difficult problems, all of which shaped me and will continue to forever influence me. I am immensely grateful to my family and all my teachers and mentors whose contributions have profoundly impacted my educational success and well-being.'

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