Thursday, 11 October 2012

Summer Studentship Conference

Each year we offer summer bursaries to our students who are just finishing their second year. This allows them 6-8 weeks of research experience with our staff during the holidays. This all culminates in a poster conference where students present the work that they performed:

Naina being quizzed by (and having errors pointed out by) Nick

If you write Macrophage in the title, Dr Foey will be wanting to know what you did!

All of those cytokines seemed to have got to Jen
 These bursaries offer students a taster of what research is like but don't take my word for it!

Over to Naina Verma, a third year Biomed student who worked on the effect of of anti-diabetic sulfonylureas on mitochondrial activity in pancreatic beta cells with Dr Charlie Affourtit:

"What I gained from doing the summer placement was a new fascination for research which I did not entirely experience during the occasional practical sessions taken during the term period.  For the lab research my supervisor had given me a question which I had to do my research on.  Your enthusiasm builds so much for the work you do because it becomes your own project, you learn from any errors you make and become so eager find a reliable answer to your proposed question.  I liked independent study and I also understood the importance of searching a wide array of scientific papers to aid my research.  I developed an understanding of using scientific papers to support the reason for why I was doing the experiment in a certain way.  Now I know how scientists in their day-to-day jobs use scientific papers to support their research.  I can confidently say that I would have not been even close to being prepared to do a third year dissertation if it was not for me doing the summer project.  A very obvious benefit i gained within these 8 weeks was learning basic techniques which is used in a lot of research such as how to culture and maintain cells using aseptic techniques and keeping the growth environment consistent.  Cell culture might seem like a very basic technique but it does take multiple attempts to become confident to do it well.  Finally an added value with doing a summer project is the chance of getting to interact with a lot of the course lecturers.  I would hopefully like to think that it has built rapport with them and that they can see your willingness to do well.  Overall, I would recommend to everyone, if you have the chance to do a summer project you definitely will not regret it."

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Induction Week

In our school, the week of graduation is a special week as we say goodbye to one student cohort on the Monday and welcome our new cohort of freshers bright and early on Tuesday morning! Induction week is designed to be a mix of serious activities (lab inductions, microscope session, meeting tutors) as well as some that are more fun (quizzes, days out etc). Friday sees our annual trip to Mt Edgcumbe, just a short boat ride into Cornwall, for an informal day meeting fellow students and staff alike with lunch and a beer in the Edgcumbe Arms.

Our annual trip to Mt Edgcumbe
This year also saw the first annual drinks reception for staff and all new students in the graduation marquees on the Hoe. While the author of these posts was, unfortunately, not present, he has seen some "interesting" photos of several staff members at the reception "enjoying the entertainment". As soon as he manages to get his hands on digital copies of said photos, they will (death threats aside) appear here - Watch this space!!!

EDIT - Photos below! We can open the first one up for a caption competition via the comments on the bottom of this post (Keep it clean and respectable please - I'll moderate anything that is not!)

Dr John Moody seems worried about the growth on Paul's head

Dr Paul Ramsay showing his circus skills

Dr Andy Foey has an idea in the middle of the party

Monday, 17 September 2012


The best day of the year for both staff and students! Our graduation ceremonies are held on the Hoe, offering a picturesque setting. We'll leave the photos to tell the rest.

Cheer up Graham!

2012 graduates lining up for the class photo

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Showcase Day

Today is the annual Showcase day on the Hoe. Many of our staff, students and technicians are involved in showing schoolchildren and the public the sorts of things we do at the University.

Jenny Harris demonstration sensory perceptions of colour and taste

Dr Simon Fox

Tony demonstrating the extraction of DNA from a banana using household chemicals
Cos, Sarah, Michele and Matt

Matt and Niketa explaining antibiotic resistance

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Showcase Event

If you happen to be in Plymouth on Tuesday 11th of September, why not pop up to the Hoe and visit the Faculty of Science and Technology showcase event (in the big marquees) from 3.30 to 5.30 to see what sorts of things we do in terms of scientific research.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Clearing Places Available!

We still have places available through clearing for the following degree courses from our Clinical and Biosciences suite of degree courses:

Healthcare Sciences (Physiological Sciences and Life Sciences pathways)
Biomedical Sciences
Human Biosciences

For up to date news, visit our Departmental homepage.

Please follow the links above for more information on the courses.

If you are interested in applying please follow this link or for more information please call +44 (0)1752 585858

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Spotlight on Healthcare Sciences

Prospective students might not be very familiar with the degrees that we offer in Healthcare Sciences and this post is designed to give a bit of background information away from the formal descriptions on the Plymouth University website.
The accredited Healthcare Sciences degree that we run is split into two disciplines, Life Sciences and Physiology, that are very similar to degrees offered by other institutions in Clinical Laboratory Science and Clinical Physiology. These programmes are designed to train students to work within professional healthcare. Follow the links above for information on applying to study etc.
Physiology incorporates specialisms in cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep science (CVRS) and the Life Sciences program allows students to specialise in  Blood (Haematology), Cellular (Pathology) or Infection (Microbiology and Immunology) Science. 

Official placement tunic for Physiology
Physiology incorporates core training (1st year) in the scientific basis of healthcare, human physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology and therapeutics, cardiovascular and respiratory physiology. Students will then specialise in years 2 and 3 within one pathway chosen from either Cardiovascular Physiology (cardiovascular physiology in health and disease) or Respiratory and Sleep Science (respiratory and sleep science in health and disease). Additional modules include components in practice and work based learning in healthcare, clinical physiology, instrumentation and techniques, disorders, methods in diagnosis and monitoring, evidence based practice in healthcare including advanced investigations. 
Life Sciences incorporates core training (1st year) in the foundations of healthcare science practice, biomolecular science, cellular and molecular biomedicine and pharmacology and therapeutics.  Students will then specialise in years 2 and 3 within one pathway chosen from: Blood (blood science in health and disease), Cellular (cellular science in health and disease), or Infection Science (Infection Sciences in health and disease). Additional modules include diagnostic and clinical biomedicine, techniques in microscopy and molecular biology, evidence based practice in healthcare including advanced investigations.
One of the really key and attractive aspects of these courses are the work placements. These form an integral part of the course. Over the three years of the degree, you will get almost a whole year of placement in a clinical lab (or labs) or department in the NHS meaning that you are getting highly relevant work experience. Our first cohort of students is on placement at the moment and they seem to be learning a huge amount and enjoying it. The placements are split over the three years as detailed below:

 In order to fit the placements into the academic year, they are held (partly) over the summer so the course requires you to work for some of the time during the normal university holiday period (in much the same way as nursing, midwifery or medical degrees).
When you graduate, you will be a qualified Healthcare Science Practitioner and therefore qualify for direct entry into NHS employment in their specialised field. For instance, you could go on to work in a cardiology department (Physiology) or a Microbiology or Histopathology lab (Life Sciences). Graduates will qualify for direct entry onto the highly desirable Scientific Training Programme (STP). Graduates will also be highly desirable for employment in the private sector within pharmaceutical and healthcare industries due to the practical skills gained during their placements.
Student comments 2012
‘This degree program is not only intellectually stimulating but it allows opportunities of real life clinical exposure and provides a lot of patient interaction. This allows me to combine my social skills with my love of science’
Ali Wong, BSc Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences).
‘The interaction between academic learning and clinical exposure has created a more dynamic and challenging learning environment’ 
Jamie Walton, BSc Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences)
“Studying this course provides an invaluable insight into the vital science that underpins medicine. Clinical placements provide a unique opportunity to see and run diagnostic tests, as-well as providing us with the opportunity to make life long contacts within the field of healthcare and biomedical sciences”. 
Neil Marshall, BSc Healthcare Science (Life Sciences)

Additional information
The degrees are accredited by Medical Education England and the National Academy of Healthcare Sciences allowing graduates to be able to apply to be registered by an appropriate professional body for their chosen career path.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Centre for Research in Translational Biomedicine (CRTB) Annual Conference 2012

The Portland Square Building hosted the second annual CRTB research day earlier this week.  The conference brought together sixty researchers interested in a range of biomedical, healthcare and clinical disciplines to discuss their work.  From a personal perspective it was great to see a number of undergraduates attend the conference and gain an insight into the research interests of new staff members.  If you would like to revisit Michael Jarvis's, Rich Boden's or Lynn McCallum's talks then please follow the hyperlinks. There were also several thought provoking presentations from outside speakers including Dr Will Gaze (European Centre for Environment and Human Health), Prof. John Zajicek (Peninsular College of Medicine and Dentistry), Prof Jonathan Benger (UWE and University hospitals Bristol), Dr Alison Curnow (PCMD) and Dr Frankie Rawson (University of Birmingham). Many post-graduates also presented their work during the poster sessions and congratulations should go to Hadil Al Hadi and Kelly Sillence who were awarded prizes for the best poster presentations at the conference. (Pictures - Hanady Al-Shmgani)

Prof John Zajicek talks about cannabinoids in MS

Poster Session

Michael Jarvis Celebrates American Style

Friday, 29 June 2012

Departmental Resesarch Highlighted by BBSRC

The BBRSC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) have today highlighted research performed at Plymouth on their website. The research conducted by Matt Baron in the group of Prof Awadhesh Jha describes the culture of "spheroids" of liver cells from Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). These clusters of cells are a much better model for ecotoxicological studies than the classic cell culture monolayers as they more closely mimic a structured organ. They are also stable in culture for at least a month allowing chronic treatments to be investigated.

Spheroid under EM

'Towards a more representative in vitro method for fish ecotoxicology: morphological and biochemical characterisation of three-dimensional spheroidal hepatocytes' Matthew G. Baron, Wendy M. Purcell, Simon K. Jackson, Stewart F. Owen and Awadhesh N. Jha (2012) Ecotoxicology In Press (full text available from within the University but may need a subscription from outside)

The Biomed Blog is born!

Welcome to the Plymouth University Biomedical Science Group Blog!

We hope to use this blog to give interested readers, from both within the university and outside, an insight into what we do and to publish news and events about our activities.

We are also open to suggestions from readers about the type of material they would like to see.