Wed 10 Feb 21
Essex graduate Narmin Akhundova has won a Study UK Alumni Award for her scientific research at the Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency (AFSA).
Narmin, who graduated from the School of Biological Sciences (now School of Life Sciences) in 2015 with a Masters in Molecular Medicine, has been praised for her research at AFSA into energy drink compounds and their effect on the human body, which led to new legislation in Azerbaijan.
“Today, all energy drinks imported to Azerbaijan have to meet requirements according to this legislation and selling energy drinks to people under 18 years old is now banned in Azerbaijan after our findings on its anti-sedative effects,” added Narmin, who has been shortlisted for the Professional Achievement Award.
The Study UK Alumni Awards, coordinated by the British Council, recognise UK alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond.
Narmin described her time studying at Essex as “a life-changing experience”.
“I had a chance to meet world-leading scientists, to work in well-equipped laboratories, meet new people, and make lifelong friends from different countries,” she added.
After Essex, Narmin began working at the AFSA after deciding to pursue a career in molecular medicine to understand the molecular basis of biological processes. Her ground-breaking research into energy drinks led to her promotion as the lead specialist in the area. Her recent work has involved implementing a food security-related project developed by herself in collaboration with several organisations which makes a range of food products for low-income families more accessible and promises a reduction in food waste.
“Studying in the UK shaped me as an independent researcher and helped me to enhance my networking in the scientific community,” Narmin explained. “Essex shaped me into a better, stronger, more intellectual, and more determined researcher. It helped me to develop a critical mindset, enhance independent research capacity, and gain state-of-the-art theoretical and practical skills and knowledge that has led to my success.”
At a virtual awards ceremony our Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said “We are so proud of Narmin and delighted to be able to recognise her achievements and celebrate her work on such a global platform.
"Narmin graduated in 2015 with a Masters in Molecular Medicine. After Essex, Narmin began working at the Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency after deciding to pursue a career in molecular medicine. Her ground-breaking research into energy drinks, and their effect on the human body, led to new legislation in Azerbaijan banning the sale to under 18 year olds after her findings on their anti-sedative affects.
"Narmin embodies the Essex spirit; her curiosity and determination have brought about profound positive change and we’re immensely proud that once again a member of our incredible alumni community is being recognised in this way. The University of Essex is proud to have over 100,000 alumni in 150 countries around the world. The awards show the impact of our Essex graduates and their commitment to making a difference, and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate Narmin’s work on this platform.”