West Kirby student Kirtana Vallabhaneni is top of the class after being named the UK Young Scientist of the Year.

The talented pupil from West Kirby Grammar School was one of 360 shining young stars chosen to showcase their work to a world-class panel of judges.

She impressed the judges with a research project for the University of Liverpool.

Kirtana has she has been involved in some ground-breaking work helping to identify the harmful cells that cause pancreatic cancer.

The overarching aim of the project is to isolate cells in the pancreas that can be targeted with chemotherapy rather than subjecting the whole body to the treatment.

The world-class judging panel included renowned space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Nobel Prize winning biochemist Sir Tim Hunt, and the Science Museum’s inventor in residence Mark Champkins, among others.

Dr Aderin-Pocock said: “I’m delighted to award Kirtana Vallabhaneni the UK Young Scientist of the Year.

"The country’s science and engineering industry has an incredibly bright future ahead of it if Kirtana and her fellow finalists are anything to go by.

"I was overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and passion the youngsters had for their projects – it’s these talented individuals who will inspire others to think about science and engineering in a new and exciting light.”

Kirtana said: “Everything that I’ve worked for over the last year has come together. I’m so happy!

"The fact four finalists were female shows that there are really strong opportunities for women in science and it proves they don’t have to follow convention and stereotypes."

The finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, the country’s largest celebration of science and engineering for young people took place at at the NEC, Birmingham.

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