Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield student wins national young scientist award

Sarah Sobka Image copyright Young Scientist
Image caption Sarah Sobka won the title for research in to cystic fibrosis drugs

A student has been named UK Young Scientist of the Year for research into new drugs for cystic fibrosis patients.

Sarah Sobka, a pupil at Sheffield High School, was selected by a panel of experts ahead of 2,000 other hopefuls.

Sarah presented her work at an event in Birmingham and said she was "really grateful to win the award, but it was a bit of shock".

She did the work during four weeks last year at the University of Sheffield's Department of Biomedical Science.

Working in a team, she helped examine a drug which is commonly used to treat women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome to see if it could be used on cystic fibrosis.

The incurable disease is one of the UK's most common life-threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,000 people, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

It affects internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.

Ms Sobka said she had become "attached to cystic fibrosis" after her work placement and hoped to pursue a career in medicine and research.

"I was a small part in a really big paper," she said.

"But, every small step is important. The more we know the more help that gives us in synthesising new drugs.

"Every little bit of understanding helps."

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