Each year, the Biochemical Society presents a series of prestigious awards that recognize excellence and achievement in both specific and general fields of science. Candidates are nominated by their peers and the winners are agreed by a judging panel of respected scientists from across a range of different scientific backgrounds.

Following a record year of nominations, the work and contribution of 15 eminent bioscientists, outstanding educators, and exceptional early-career researchers has been acknowledged in the annual Biochemical Society Awards. From the presentation of the inaugural Inspiration and Resilience Award to the first female recipient of The Sir Philip Randle Lecture, each recipient has been recognized for excellence in their field, as well as a strong commitment to build, support and nurture future talent. Winners of the 2025 awards represent a cross-section of the molecular biosciences, ranging from redox biology and plant–microbe interactions to mechanochemistry and virology. All of the 2025 winners will receive their prize and deliver an Award Lecture in 2025.

Steve Busby, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham and Chair of the Biochemical Society’s Awards Committee, says:

"The list of the 2025 Biochemical Society award-winners is impressive and, of course, we have a wonderful mix of awardees, since each prize is targeted to a different section of our community. This is due to great foresight by the Society’s managers and funders, over many many years. As well as congratulating the winners, I want to say thanks for all the hard work put in by nominators, supporters, Biochemical Society staff, and the Awards Panel during the current round, this scheme could not work without you, and your efforts made my job easy!”

The AstraZeneca Award for 2025 will be presented to Professor Róisín M. Owens (University of Cambridge). Róisín is professor of bioelectronics at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Newnham College. She is deputy head of the School of Technology at Cambridge, in charge of research and strategy. She received her BA in natural sciences at Trinity College Dublin and her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Southampton. She carried out two postdocs at Cornell University, on host–pathogen interactions. From 2009 to 2017, she was group leader in the Department of Bioelectronics at École des Mines de Saint-Étienne, on the microelectronics campus in Provence. She has received several awards including the European Research Council starting and consolidator grants. She is a 2019 laureate of the Suffrage Science award. From 2014 to 2020, she was principal editor for biomaterials for MRS Communications (Cambridge University Press). In 2020, she became scientific editor for Materials Horizons (RSC). She is author of 130+ publications and three patents, and her work has been cited more than 9000 times. With her group, she studies the integration of electronic devices with biological systems for continuous monitoring, from cell membranes to tissues and organs, with a particular interest in studying the microbiome–gut–brain axis.

Róisín said: "I initially trained as a biochemist, but subsequently spent nearly 20 years learning how to best use electronic devices to serve the biological sciences community. With this award I feel like I’ve come full circle and the devices my team has developed are now recognized as being actually useful with real application in life sciences. It’s hugely validating for me and the team, and means a lot that it is sponsored by AstraZeneca, as our work hopes to be useful in the drug discovery space, to increase efficiency and reduce costs, ultimately benefitting patients".

The 2025 Biochemical Society Award – Significant Breakthrough or Achievement will be presented to Dr Zhao-Qing Luo (Purdue University). Zhao-Qing is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University. His research focuses on biochemical basis of bacterial infection using Legionella pneumophila as a model. One hallmark of the pathogenicity of L. pneumophila is its hundreds of virulence factors that function to modulate host processes to create an intracellular niche permissive for bacterial growth. His group has contributed significantly to not only the identification but also the functional characterization of many of these factors by revealing their unique biochemical activities and targets within host cells. He identified enzymes that catalyse reversible AMPylation and phosphorylcholination to regulate Rab1, a key signalling protein involved in vesicle trafficking. More notably, his group discovered a ubiquitination mechanism in which ubiquitin is activated by ADP-ribosylation using NAD as the energy source. These reactions are chemically distinct from the canonical three-enzyme cascade powered by ATP. He also found that these bacterial ubiquitin ligases are regulated by glutamylation catalysed by pseudokinase-induced protein AMPylation. Work from the Luo group has revealed host function modulation by a wide variety of protein post-translational modifications catalysed by bacterial virulence factors, which have greatly expanded our understanding of cell signalling and the biochemical mechanisms underlying such modifications.

Zhao-Qing said: “I feel thrilled to be recognized by the prestigious Award from the Biochemical Society. It is a great honour for myself and for the many outstanding people with whom I have been fortunate to work with over the years. It reminds me of the many moments when we gained a glimpse of the activity of these cryptic proteins often after years of pursuit. I wish to thank my mentors at different stages of my career, my department, Purdue University, the funding agencies and my family for the support that enables my research”.

The 2025 Biochemical Society Award – Sustained Excellence will be presented to Professor Robert Cross (University of Warwick). Rob is a molecular motors enthusiast. Motors are fundamental to eukaryotic life because they allow cells to self-organize. How molecular motors work has fascinated him all his working life.

Rob obtained his PhD in 1983 from the University of Nottingham and then won an EMBO long-term fellowship to work with J. Victor Small and Apolinary Sobieszek in Salzburg on the structure and mechanisms of smooth muscle myosin filaments. In 1986, he moved to MRC-LMB as an MDA fellow and working with John Kendrick Jones, Clive Bagshaw and Mike Geeves, Rob was ultimately able to propose an explicit mechanism for myosin II self-assembly. In 1991, he moved to the Marie Curie Research Institute (MCRI) and began work on kinesin, then newly discovered. In 2005, Rob and Nick Carter found that kinesin can step processively backwards under load. This turned out to be key to its mechanochemical coupling, which, as Algirdas Toleikis, Nicka and Rob recently showed, combines tight-coupled forward steps with loose-coupled backslips. In 2009, the MCRI closed and Rob moved, with his friends Andrew McAinsh and Anne Straube, to the University of Warwick. At Warwick, Rob continues to interrogate the kinesin mechanism, but with an important paradigm shift, whereby the interlock between the mechanochemical mechanisms of kinesin and tubulin is paramount.

Rob said: "The Biochemical Society is a national treasure and I am grateful for this recognition of my work. I like the idea of an award for sustained progress – for me, science is about finding a good problem, splitting it into smaller problems, and working to solve those, as best one can, for as long as it takes".

The 2025 Centenary Award will be presented to Professor Sheena Radford (University of Leeds). Sheena obtained her BSc in biochemistry from the University of Birmingham in 1984 and PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1987, before moving to the University of Oxford, where she was first a postdoc and then Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences. In 1995, she moved to the University of Leeds as lecturer in biochemistry and was a founder member of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. She was made a full professor of the University of Leeds in 2000 and was director of the Astbury Centre from 2012 to 2021. She currently holds the position of Royal Society Research Professor and is the Astbury Professor of Biophysics. Her research spans the disciplines, focusing on the question of how proteins fold, how Gram-negative bacteria fold proteins into the outer membrane to create their cell wall, and how proteins misfold and form amyloid in disease. She has received several awards in recognition of her work, including the Biochemical Society’s Colworth Medal, Membership of EMBO and of the Academia Europaea, Fellowships of the Royal Society, Academy of Medical Sciences, Society of Biology and Royal Society of Chemistry and was made member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2020 for her services to molecular biology.

Sheena said: "I am delighted and humbled to receive this award. I have been a member of the Biochemical Society since I was an undergraduate, which makes the award even more special for me. I have been lucky to have worked with a fantastic group of talented early-career scientists and collaborators both in the Astbury Centre at Leeds and across the globe. I thank them all. The very best of science is performed in collaborative and supportive teams. If I have helped to promote that working ethos, and to help others, then I have done my job! The field of protein folding has never been more exciting and I hope that this award will inspire others to join our community and help to tackle the dire consequences caused when protein folding goes wrong”.

The 2025 Colworth Medal will be awarded to Dr Alexander Borodavka (University of Cambridge). Alex’s fascination with viruses led him to earn a BSc in biochemistry and an MSc in microbiology and virology from Kyiv National University, where at the time he worked on viral vaccine development for veterinary use. Pursuing his passion, Alex completed his PhD at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, as a Wellcome-funded student under the supervision of Dr Roman Tuma and Professor Peter Stockley. After completing his PhD studies, Alex was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship to develop advanced fluorescence techniques for investigating rotaviruses, which mainly affect children worldwide. From 2015 to 2018, he honed his skills in single-molecule fluorescence biophysics and RNA biology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the University of Leeds, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2019, Alex established his research group at the University of Cambridge with support from a Sir Henry Dale/Royal Society Fellowship.

As an EMBO Young Investigator Fellow and assistant professor of biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, Alex leads a team studying the fascinating molecular assembly mechanisms of rotaviruses and other segmented RNA viruses. His interdisciplinary research aims to improve understanding of virus assembly and develop antiviral strategies and nanobiotechnology applications.

Alex said: "Receiving the Colworth Medal is an incredible honour and a testament to the dedication, curiosity, and collaborative spirit that has driven my research. As Richard Feynman once said, ‘The prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, the kick in the discovery’. This sentiment resonates deeply with me. The Colworth Medal is not just a personal achievement, it is a celebration of the joy and excitement that comes with pushing the boundaries of our biochemical knowledge of viruses that have been amazing models for many fundamental discoveries about life".

One of three 2025 Early Career Research Awards will be presented to Dr Pau Castel (New York University). Pau is an assistant professor within the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He completed his graduate studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, under the mentorship of Dr José Baselga, where he focused on elucidating the mechanisms of action and resistance associated with targeted therapies, particularly PI3K inhibitors, approved for treating metastatic breast cancer. Subsequently, Dr Castel pursued postdoctoral research at the University of California San Francisco, working in the laboratory of Dr Frank McCormick. There, he focused into the biochemical mechanisms governing signal transduction within the RAS/MAPK pathway, providing valuable insights into fundamental cellular processes critical for cancer development. Currently, Dr Castel’s research is directed towards understanding the molecular mechanisms of oncoprotein transformation in both cancer and congenital disorders. Leveraging a multidisciplinary approach encompassing biochemical techniques, signal transduction and mouse genetics, his laboratory strives to elucidate the complexities of the RAS/MAPK pathway. Ultimately, the overarching goal of his work is to pioneer rational-based therapeutic strategies tailored for the treatment of these disorders. Dr Castel’s research has been published in several international peer-reviewed journals and has received support from the US National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense.

Pau said: “I am honoured to be recognized by the Biochemical Society, a historical institution in our field. This award not only signifies an acknowledgement to my previous work, but also serves as a motivation for my lab’s future research”.

One of three 2025 Early Career Research Awards will be presented to Dr Shey Robert Adamu (University of Buea). Robert is an early-career researcher at the University of Buea in Cameroon where he teaches and carries out research on the use of computational tools for the rational design and development of diagnostics and vaccines for infectious diseases. He holds a PhD in molecular biology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, where he also completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship. In 2020, Dr Shey was awarded the WHO/TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellowship and underwent 1-year training focused on research-related project management at the European Vaccine Initiative in Germany. He is currently an EDCTP-CANTAM Career Development Fellowship awardee and his project is focused on the development of novel diagnostic tools for onchocerciasis. In addition, he is the principal investigator of two projects funded by the Integrated Services for Infectious Disease Outbreak Research (ISIDORe): one focused on the development of diagnostic tools for monkeypox serosurveillance and the other on the development of transmission-blocking vaccines for Aedes-borne virus using mosquito salivary gland proteins. He is passionate about capacity building, academic mentoring and research development, especially in Africa.

Robert said: "I am extremely thrilled and thankful to be a recipient of this award from the Biochemical Society. A popular African proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. This award is a display of the greatly brilliant people I have been privileged to work with, especially those who supervised, mentored and supported me. I am grateful to my supervisors and mentors, especially, Prof Stephen Ghogomu, Prof Jacob Souopgui and Prof Luc Vanhamme for providing their shoulders for me to stand on. I am looking forward to the many benefits that this award affords me, especially the mentorship. I am also looking forward to contributing to the mission of the Biochemical Society as well as creating new networks”.

One of three 2025 Early Career Research Awards will be presented to Dr Tatsuya Nobori (Salk Institute). Tatsuya is originally from Japan. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Tokyo. He completed his PhD (summa cum laude) in 2019 in the group of Kenichi Tsuda at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, where he established methods to analyse bacterial transcriptomes and proteomes in planta. His studies revealed how plants influence the responses of pathogens and microbiota. He then joined the lab of Joe Ecker at the Salk Institute in San Diego, California, as a Human Frontiers Science Program Long-Term Fellow. His research integrates single-cell multiomics and spatial transcriptomics to study heterogeneity in plant–microbe interactions. He also developed a new method called PHYTOMap, which enables multiplexed spatial gene expression analysis in 3D in whole-mount plant tissues. In the summer of 2024, he is set to establish a new lab at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich, UK. His new lab aims to understand molecular and spatiotemporal characteristics of cells comprising the holobiont (the collective entity of the host and surrounding microbes) by developing and incorporating new genomics and imaging technologies tailored for studying plant–microbe interactions.

Tatsuya said: "I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this award, a recognition only made possible through the constant support from my mentors, Prof Kenichi Tsuda and Prof Joe Ecker, my colleagues and the collaborators with whom I've had the privilege of working. I am also grateful to Dr Mike Deeks and Prof Nick Talbot for their support in my nomination”.

The 2025 Industry and Academic Collaboration Award will be presented to Professor Gopal Sapkota (University of Dundee). Gopal was born and raised in a remote part of Nepal. After completing his formative education from Nepal, he won a British Council Scholarship to study biochemistry at the University of Bath. He next undertook his PhD research at the University of Dundee in the laboratory of Dario Alessi supported by a Diabetes UK PhD studentship. For his postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York with Joan Massagué, he was awarded the prestigious Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship to investigate the regulation of TGFβ signalling pathway. In 2008, he joined the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) at the University of Dundee as a programme leader. In 2020, he was appointed professor of disease signalling. His research focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms underpinning reversible phosphorylation and ubiquitylation processes in cell signalling and disease and harnessing this knowledge for innovative drug discovery approaches. Gopal has been an integral part of the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT), a long-running flagship collaboration between Dundee researchers and leading commercial pharmaceutical companies. Gopal has on-going collaborative drug discovery projects with GSK, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Amgen Inc.

Gopal said: “I am delighted to have received this prestigious award. It is a recognition of the many productive collaborations that I have had, and continue to be part of, with some of the leading pharmaceutical partners. It is also a recognition of the hard work of all the students and postdocs in my lab over the years. I am hopeful this award will promote many more fruitful drug discovery collaborations with industry and allow our trainees an excellent opportunity to work alongside top pharmaceutical industries in a unique collaborative environment”.

The inaugural Inspiration and Resilience Award will be presented to Dr Daniel Carneiro Moreira (University of Brasília) in 2025. Daniel Moreira earned his bachelor’s in biological sciences (2011), master’s in biochemistry and molecular biology (2014), and PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology (2017) at the University of Brasília, Brazil. His doctoral thesis, ‘Redox metabolism adaptations to environmental extremes: mechanism, distribution, and occurrence of the “Preparation for Oxidative Stress” phenomenon’, received the Best Thesis Great Award (Life Sciences) from the university. In 2023, he was a junior postdoctoral researcher with external funding at i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, University of Porto, Portugal. Since 2016, he has held the position of biologist at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Brasília, where he assists senior researchers and leads his own research and outreach projects. As a biochemist fascinated by the ‘Unity in Diversity’ principle in comparative biochemistry and physiology, Daniel’s research interests focus on understanding how animals, operating on the same basic cellular biochemistry as humans, are resilient to environmental conditions lethal to humans. His primary focus has been on redox biology, emphasizing the role of redox metabolism in cellular stress response and animal biochemical adaptations to extreme environmental conditions. This includes projects examining the modulation of antioxidant systems in animals under oxygen deprivation and during seasonal metabolic suppression states.

Daniel said: "Receiving the Inspiration and Resilience Award is an incredible honour that validates the work and perseverance behind my research in comparative biochemistry. As an early-career researcher, receiving such an award enhances my visibility in the scientific community and supports the future development of my work. It not only acknowledges my efforts to conduct research with modest funding and against logistical challenges but also shines a light on the potential of emerging researchers in similar conditions, especially in the Global South".

The 2025 International Award will be presented to Professor Renae Ryan (University of Sydney). Renae is a professor of biochemical pharmacology and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research team investigates the molecular mechanisms of membrane transport proteins, combining functional analysis with structural biology techniques to uncover the molecular architecture and choreography of neurotransmitter transporters and their link to neurological diseases, such as episodic ataxia.

After receiving her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2004, Renae was awarded an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council CJ Martin Fellowship and completed postdoctoral work in the laboratories of Eric Gouaux at Columbia University and Joe Mindell at the National Institutes of Health (NINDS). Renae returned to the University of Sydney in 2007 and was awarded an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship to establish her own group in 2010.

She has received several awards for scientific excellence, mentoring and outreach including the Nancy Millis Medal from the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Mentoring of Young Researchers. Renae is a globally respected leader and advocate for gender equity, diversity and inclusion and a sought-after supervisor, mentor and role model for women in science.

Renae said: "It is a great honour to receive the Biochemical Society International Award. This award recognizes the hard work of the talented students, early-career researchers, and collaborators I am fortunate to work with. I want to thank my mentors and supporters and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council for funding me and my team over the last 20 years. This recognition will profile our research and inspire us to keep exploring the molecular basis for transporter-related diseases".

The 2025 Research Support Award will be presented to Dr Sam T. Mugford (John Innes Centre). Sam has worked as a research assistant in Professor Saskia Hogenhout’s lab for the last 11 years, during which time he has researched the roles of aphid saliva proteins in supressing plant immunity, as well as providing technical support across a range of projects in molecular genetics, genome sequencing, population genetics, bioinformatics, cell biology and protein biochemistry. Sam takes great pleasure from assisting in the training, mentoring and supervision of research students. He also enjoys participating in the life of the John Innes Centre (JIC) beyond their research group. As well as being an excellent place to do science, the institute has a very collegiate and collaborative culture and that is something Sam is keen to help support and maintain.

Sam joined the JIC in 2007 as a postdoc working on plant metabolism in Professor Anne Osbourn’s group and later in Professor Alison Smith’s group. Before that, he did a PhD in the Plant Science Department at the University of Oxford. Sam got his first taste of research science at the JIC when he did an undergraduate placement year as part of his undergraduate degree at the University of Bath, after which he worked as a research technician at the Long Ashton Research Station in Bristol.

Sam said: "This is a huge honour and an amazing surprise. I’m enormously grateful to the Biochemical Society for the award, to Saskia Hogenhout for nominating me and for all those that supported the nomination. It’s really pleasing to see that there are awards like this that provide recognition for staff in support roles working in a research environment".

The Sir Philip Randle Lecture will be presented to Professor Sonia Rocha (University of Liverpool) in 2025. Sonia, originally from northern Portugal, earned her biology degree at the University of Porto, with emphasis on plant physiology. She then completed a PhD at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, focusing on ionizing radiation-induced apoptosis in the group of Professor Martin Pruschy and Professor Kasper Winterhalter. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Dundee, Scotland, exploring tumour suppressor interactions with NF-κB transcription factors in the group of Professor Neil Perkins. In 2005, she started as a Tenure Track Principal Investigator at the University of Dundee, delving into hypoxia research. Recognized with Tenure in 2010 and a Cancer Research-UK Senior Research Fellowship in 2011, she later became deputy director of the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2013, before being promoted to full professor in 2016. In 2017, she assumed leadership of the Biochemistry Department at the University of Liverpool, eventually becoming executive dean for the Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology in May 2020. Sonia actively engages in teaching, mentoring and public outreach, while also contributing to scientific committees, academic journal editing and conference organization.

Sonia said: "It is an honour to receive this award, especially as the first female recipient. I would like to thank all the members of my team past and present, the scientific community in areas we work in and all my mentors throughout my career. This award highlights our work in how cells change in response to reduced oxygen availability, a master regulator of metabolism. We will continue to investigate this response, which is so important for health and disease across all multicellular organisms".

The 2025 Teaching Excellence Award – Early Career will be presented to Dr Nicholas Weise (University of Manchester). Nick’s development as a teacher began as a Peer-Assisted Study Session (PASS) Leader mentoring first-year students alongside his study for a BSc in molecular biology. He then became a graduate teaching assistant and outreach volunteer while pursuing a PhD in chemistry and applied enzymology. Upon completion of his studies, he worked as a public engagement programme manager for the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology before securing a position as a lecturer at the University of Manchester. He currently holds two senior lectureships, one at the Manchester Medical School and the other in the Department of Chemistry, where he also leads the peer support, employability and learning enhancement portfolios. In 2020, he became an Inaugural Fellow of the Institute of Teaching & Learning, a co-founding member of the UK National Learning & Teaching Focused Network in 2022 and in 2023, a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). A keen disseminator of both biochemical and educational principles, Nick has organized and participated in over 90 outreach visits with non-traditional audiences and trained a variety of academic and NHS professionals nationally in pedagogic practice and instructional systems design.

Nick said: “It is an honour to have received this award from the Biochemical Society. I would like to thank all of my collaborative colleagues, mentors and student co-creators for working with me on a variety of initiatives! As an academic on an education track, it is easy to feel that your work is valued less, particularly when a lot of the emphasis for reward and progression at universities is on publication record and grant income. So this recognition really means a lot and has motivated me to keep doing what I am doing. I will also feel more emboldened when encouraging others to do the same and work for the benefit of their learners and those who teach or support them”.

The 2025 Teaching Excellence Award – Established Educator will be presented to Dr David Tree (Brunel University London). David brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the field of education of the molecular biosciences. With a background in genetics from the University of Cambridge and postdoctoral research from Stanford University, he has taught genetics to Biomedical Sciences BSc students since 2005. His dedication to excellence in teaching is evident in his commitment to pedagogical innovation, such as pioneering the creation of the Life Sciences BSc at Brunel University in 2017. This programme allows students to create unique interdisciplinary learning experiences integrating subjects across the life and computational sciences, offering students a distinctive educational experience. David champions pedagogical innovations and promotes novel teaching and assessment methodologies through active learning pedagogies like team-based learning (TBL) and authentic, synoptic assessments strategies, like integrated program assessment (IPA). Beyond his contributions to curriculum design, David is a strong advocate for inclusive education. He has led initiatives to address cultural representation in science, belonging anxiety and awarding gaps, fostering a more equitable learning environment. Through his dedication to excellence in education and commitment to improving student outcomes, David has transformed teaching and assessment culture at Brunel University and beyond.

David said: "I’m delighted to receive the Biochemical Society’s Teaching Excellence Award, which highlights the significance of innovative teaching and assessment practices such as integrated and synoptic assessments and active learning pedagogies. This recognition reaffirms the value of fostering inclusive and supportive learning environments, where students are empowered to engage actively and integrate knowledge across disciplines. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of life sciences education and to inspire future generations of scientists".

Nominations for the Biochemical Society’s 2026 awards will open in July 2024 and can be made by and for members and non-members alike.

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