Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Biomed graduate publishes expert review

Plymouth has an ever-increasing reputation in mucosal immunity, particularly that associated with probiotic bacteria and how this understanding can be harnessed in the control of the body’s defence mechanisms to pathogen infection. Investigations in both teleost fish (school of biological sciences) and human cell models (SoBHCS) have helped us gain a clearer understanding of the immune-regulatory effects of probiotic supplementation.

Amy Llewellyn, one of our graduates of biomedical science (pictured left), has just published her research focussing on probiotic modulation of immune cell signalling events in an international, peer-reviewed journal. In this account, Amy recounts her experience of the writing and publication processes and what this means to her future career development:

"I came to write this review with Dr Andrew Foey during my final year of Biomedical Science at Plymouth University in 2015. It was in fact Andy who inspired my passion for Immunology with his weird and wonderful immunology analogies throughout my studies at university. We discovered our shared interests during an exam revision session and began writing the review in summer 2015. And today, 23rd of October 2017, the review has been published in the latest edition of Nutrients!

Myself and Andy participated in the writing of this review equally and this involved many drafts, comments and back and forth emails to perfect the content of the review and ensure it encompassed our joint interests and the most current research. I thoroughly enjoyed every step in the process, from the literature review, to the drawing of pretty little cell signalling diagrams! The extensive literature review especially, provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the topic and proved very interesting.

The writing experience has taught me how much time, work and effort goes into writing academic reviews, but the hard work certainly pays off. I have seen a vast improvement in my writing skills and ability to critically analyse the literature. I am now a Research Assistant in an Ear and Respiratory Child Health team at Menzies School of Health Research, in Darwin, Australia and I have been able to expose my immunology interests to my current colleagues in a professional manner. This review may one day contribute to the acceptance of a PhD scholarship, which I hope to gain in the next 1-2 years. Publishing this review has given me the skills and confidence to take on further writing projects in the near future.

This would not have been possible without the outstanding level of expertise provided by Dr Andy Foey and his continued support in my abilities, not only throughout this writing process but throughout my university studies and towards my professional career which I hope to establish here in Australia. I am very proud of this achievement and look forward to one day writing another review!"

Andy adds: "I am also proud of this review and that it has been led by the enthusiasm and drive of one of our best graduates. This publication will have wide-reaching impact to the field of probiotics and immune regulation and I hope will inspire Amy to follow her dreams in pursuing a life-long career in immunology."