Friday, 16 November 2018

Fighting superbugs

Staff and students engaged in tackling the shortage of new antibiotics, and making the public more aware of the need to conserve the effectiveness of the ones we have, hosted a film and discussion with the public on this topic in the Roland Levinsky building last night.

Local resident Tony Johnson kindly provided the photos below (Tina Joshi and Mat Upton shown speaking) and said "Tina, Mat & co did a great job. The free wine and nibbles were good too". Tina says "The support of several 1st and 2nd year students was outstanding and the event would not have happened without their volunteering. They went above and beyond and I'm incredibly grateful."

Friday, 21 September 2018

Students present posters at London conference

The Physiological Society, the Scandinavian Physiological Society, the Deutsche Physiologische Gesellschaft and the Federation of European Physiological Societies organised its first Europhysiology conference from 14 – 16 September, 2018 in London. Two students attended and presented poster communications. Rebecca Wilding (Year 3 Biomedical Sciences) obtained a Physiological Society travel grant and presented a poster on respiratory physiology, which she completed in collaboration with Eleanor Richards (a Nuffield Foundation placement student) and Mike Thynne (Chest Clinic, Derriford Hospital). She completed this work during a summer bursary paid for by the School of Biomedical Sciences and worked with Feisal Subhan. Faouzi  Benterkia (a Biomedical Science graduate) presented work related to fasting and autonomic function. Together with Kashif Ali (also a Biomedical Science graduate), they conducted this project during a summer bursary paid for by the School of Biomedical Sciences and worked with Feisal Subhan. We are proud that both students successfully presented their work to international experts at Europhysiology2018 and contributed to it being a huge success. The organisers look forward to seeing us again in Berlin in 2020!

Below are Becky and Faouzi with their posters, and Feisal.

Undergraduate wins prize

The British Society of Immunology (BSI) award prizes to students for achievement in immunology. Our Jane Brooks has just received a BSI undergraduate prize in recognition of her academic excellence in immunology over the duration of her Biomedical Science programme, which culminated in an excellent dissertation project and achieving a 1st class honours degree.

Jane is shown below receiving her BSI prize from Dr Andrew Foey, Associate Professor in Immunology, at graduation on the Hoe this week (in the final throws of storm Ali!). Andy writes “Jane is an outstanding student who immediately impressed in her immunology performances from year 1 right through to her final year. She reliably informs me that she wishes to pursue her interests in immunology through her career as she is currently starting medicine at the Peninsula medical school.”

We are extremely grateful to the BSI for the opportunity to award the 2018 Undergraduate prize in recognition of academic excellence in immunology.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Hosting local schools' work experience

The School of Biomedical Sciences recently hosted 15 participants for our work experience programme from 2nd to 4th July 2018. Participants were students from schools and colleges from across Devon and Cornwall. They participated in a wide range of activities including microscopy, clinical and human physiology, nutrition, a tour of the new Derriford Research Facility, engaging in group presentations related to biomedicine and last but not least, baking cookies (leftovers are seen in the left hand corner of the picture; our lecturer Feisal Subhan is the one with the beard at the back).

Monday, 11 June 2018

Detecting antibiotic resistance in 5 minutes

Tina Joshi and her group are working to develop a handheld device that can allow detection of antibiotic resistance genes during a GP’s appointment, i.e. within 5 minutes. This will allow appropriate antibiotics to be prescribed. Her work will be highlighted in a BBC documentary in the Autumn and has just been covered in the Biomedical Scientist.

Friday, 8 June 2018

M.Sc. student publishes paper

Robert Davies, one of our students on the Biomedical Science M.Sc course, has just published a mini-review in Clinical Kidney Journal.

Robert writes ""I first became interested in metabolomics whilst taking the Clinical Biochemistry module as part of the MSc Biomedical Science. I chose to focus my assessment work on the use of metabolomics in chronic kidney disease because I have had clinical experience of working with patients with kidney failure. Through reading the literature it became apparent that studies using metabolomics would often not take into account the role of diet and the microbiome despite their influences on metabolites. I decided I would try to get my work published because I felt it addressed a need in this area and I contacted the Clinical Kidney Journal where it was peer-reviewed. The reviewers were very encouraging saying it would be useful for nephrologists providing a clear take-home message but suggested expanding the sections on the techniques used in metabolomics and to include a summary table of the articles used in the mini-review. Hopefully, this mini-review will be of use to nephrologists and researchers using metabolomics technologies to identify potential biomarkers of chronic kidney disease and to consider the impact of diet, nutritional status, and the microbiome on their findings."

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Antibiotic resistance roadshow

 Earlier this year, members of Mat Upton's research lab were involved in running a public engagement event showcasing some of the work being carried out on antibiotic discovery. As part of it, we also ran a ‘swab-n-send’ type session, asking the public to swab an environment they found interesting, come back and smear it onto the agar plate ready to be grown in the lab.

We were also recently able to take this event on the road (well to the Barbican, anyway) for the Pirate Weekend, alongside members of Kerry Howell's research group and with some help from the Marine Biological Association. There was lots of interest from both kids and adults alike, was great fun and we were able to chat to members of the public and get the message of antibiotic resistance out there to the masses. We also took pictures of all the plates that were swabbed and posted them to our on-going Facebook page, allowing people to check back and see what grew on their plates, as well as keep up to date with interesting developments in the lab and future events.

As an added bonus we’ve been able to identify a potentially promising antibacterial candidate from one of these plates, and are currently working to characterise it in the lab. So if you’ve ever wondered what kind of horrible (lovely) things might be hiding out there, check out the Facebook and come along to the next event.