Samantha López Clinton (Naturhistoriska riksmuseet and Stockholms universitet), wins the AllGenetics-EMPSEB Award 2023

Her talk titled «Eukaryote metagenomics applied to arthropod diversity monitoring» was selected by the EMPSEB committee last week in Isle of Cumbrae (Scotland).

We are delighted to announce that Samantha López Clinton, from the Centre for Palaeogenetics (a collaboration between the Naturhistoriska riksmuseet and Stockholms universitet), has been honoured with the AllGenetics-EMPSEB Award 2023.

This Mexican biologist’s talk, titled «Eukaryote metagenomics applied to arthropod diversity monitoring», proved to be the highlight of last week’s EMPSEB (European Meeting of PhD students in Evolutionary Biology) held on Scotland’s Isle of Cumbrae. AllGenetics’ general manager, Dr Joaquín Vierna, expressed AllGenetics’ enthusiasm about this work: «Metagenomics is a field of great interest to us so it’s wonderful to see that the EMPSEB committee selected an outstanding metagenomics work in this year’s meeting».

Samantha’s journey started when she completed her BSc in Biology at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Ciudad de México in 2019. Her involvement in research efforts began back in 2015 when she earned a scholarship from Field Projects International for a field course in the Peruvian Amazon. In 2018, Samantha made a significant contribution by managing the Green Lab, the first field genetics laboratory in the Amazon Rainforest. She spent half a year there, gaining invaluable on-site experience. Samantha pursued her MSc in Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala universitet, and in 2022, she began her PhD under the supervision of Dr Tom van der Valk. Her PhD research focuses on biodiversity monitoring using environmental DNA (eDNA) and the development of a bioinformatic pipeline for species community analysis. She will use data from the Insect Biome Atlas project, conduct multi-species population genomics, and explore new sequencing technologies to obtain high-quality eukaryotic genomes from environmental samples.

Apart from her research endeavours, Samantha also demonstrates a strong commitment to science communication. She regularly delivers talks and conducts science workshops at various cultural centres, universities, and schools. Moreover, she co-chairs the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) task force for the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) and serves as the equality representative for her local PhD council and as a member of the internal IDEA committee at the Centre for Palaeogenetics.

As a Spanish company, at AllGenetics we are particularly proud to honour Samantha, who is a descendant of a Spanish refugee who fled to Mexico during the Spanish Civil War.

Since 1995, EMPSEB has been an annual conference dedicated to fostering networking and learning among doctoral researchers in evolutionary biology from across Europe. AllGenetics has been a proud sponsor since 2012.

The AllGenetics-EMPSEB Award consists in a one-week holiday in Ortigueira, a small village in rural Galicia, North West Spain. The winner and up to five friends will have the chance to stay at The Farm Cottage, where they can enjoy local scenery, culture, and food in the Ortegal area.

The AllGenetics-EMPSEB Award has recognised numerous outstanding researchers over the years. Samantha follows in the footsteps of previous winners:

  • Mareike Wurdack (Universität Freiburg) in 2012.
  • Pepijn Kamminga (Universiteit Leiden) in 2013.
  • Margo Maex (Vrije universiteit Brussel) in 2014.
  • John Bruce (University of Oxford) in 2015.
  • Amy Eacock (University of Liverpool) in 2016.
  • Sebastiano de Bona (Jyväskylän yliopisto) in 2017.
  • Unni Pulliainen (Helsingin yliopisto) in 2018.
  • Lucy Rebecca Davies (Aarhus Universitet) in 2019.
  • Chloe Fouilloux (Jyväskylän yliopisto) in 2021.
  • Jana Riederer (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) in 2022.