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Melvin Mezue, a PhD student in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, has been named UK's top black student at the annual Rare Rising Stars Award ceremony.

Melvin Mezue of St Hugh's College, who is studying neuroscience, won the 2013 Rare Rising Stars award for his achievements in academia and business.

Now in its fifth year, Rare Rising Stars showcases the achievements of the best black students in the UK. The judging panel included David Lammy MP, Trevor Phillips OBE, Jean Tomlin OBE, Tom Chigbo, Sam Gyimah MP, and Adrian Joseph, Director of Search Advertising at Google for Northern and Central Europe.

Mr Mezue is one of four Oxford students in the top ten. Named in fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively were Ify Aniebo, an MSc in Public Health at St Catherine’s College; Uchechukwu Ukachi, a Master’s student in Engineering, Economics and Management at St John’s College; and Ré Phillips, an MPhil in International Development at St Anthony's College. Olympic taekwondo bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad also made the top ten.

Mr Mezue investigates the way that the brain processes pain, with the aim of developing new treatments for chronic pain syndromes. Some of his research has been exhibited at the Science Museum and featured on BBC's The One Show. He has also co-founded a youth-led media company, Streamline Empire Ltd, and was President of the Oxford University Africa Society.

Raphael Mokades, Managing Director of Rare, said: 'Melvin and the other stars have shown that there are brilliant, inspirational black young people out there who are making an enormous difference to society. Whether they’re found on stage, in a South African township or in the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, our Stars have continued to defy stereotypes, push boundaries and shine brightly as high achievers and outstanding role models.'

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