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.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Students teach healthcare to children

On Wednesday two Biomedical Science students (Seanain Henry and Clishlyn Portunova) gave up their time to work at the John Bull Building teaching healthcare related activities to 60 local primary school children. The visit was part of our partnership with the Millfields Inspired charity’s Widening Horizons project, aimed at inspiring year 5 students from the Stonehouse area of Plymouth to consider different career pathways. The children took part in a carousel of healthcare related activities facilitated by Medical, Dental and SoBS students and the grip/leg strength competition hosted by Seanain and Clishlyn was a particular favourite amongst the two classes! We are looking forward to similar  events in the final Millfields Inspired session and at our Children’s University Workshops on the 6th June.

Seanain and Clishlyn are both part of Widening Access to Biomedical Science (WABS), which is a student-led group who facilitate a range of activities and attend local school and college careers events in order to raise aspirations, inspire students and make Biomedical and Healthcare courses more accessible to everyone. If you would like to join WABS, or learn more about the School of Biomedical Science’s Widening Participation activities, please contact us at the following address.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Lecturer wins teaching award

One of our lecturers, Cherith Wood, has just won Health Education England's "Inspiring Educator Award" for the South West region. Cherith teaches Clinical Cardiology, both in the university and hospital environment, to Student Cardiac Physiologists enrolled on the B.Sc. Hons Healthcare Science course. She travels across the region to liaise with Trusts and to ensure that the student experience is enjoyable as well as high-quality (the B.Sc. Hons Healthcare/ Cardiac Physiology course currently enjoys 100% employment post graduation). Below is her receiving her award at the ceremony in Taunton this week.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Student in Parliament

One of our Nutrition, Exercise & Health students -- Rachel Hine -- represented the Nutrition Society in Parliament yesterday as part of the Royal Society's 'Voice of the Future' program, which is designed to get young scientists involved in government policy. Her question was answered by Dr Rupert Lewis, who leads the Government Office for Science, this link contains the edited snippet of the question and response.

Rachel writes: "I had an excellent experience at Voice of the Future and I am very grateful to the Nutrition Society for giving me such a rare opportunity. This event has given me first-hand experience of what it is like to sit on a real select committee with members of all different societies in science and technology across the UK. It has made me aware of the potential benefit of more young scientists pursuing a career in politics and particularly how nutritionists may work within government to improve public health". Below: Rachel in the committee room.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Graduate helps set up spinout company

Dr Anas Sattar (pictured below), one of our own graduates, is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Simon Jackson's group and they have just helped set up a company,  MolEndoTech, to develop their invention of a simple and cheap test for faecal contamination of bathing water (those of us who are sea swimmers will be very aware of the need for this).

Anas writes "I always believed that hard work, determination and resilience are key characteristics a researcher must have when pursuing a research career. It is amazing how an idea or a research question can be translated into a viable product that can be potentially useful to millions of people around the globe. I am pleased that my research is en route to commercialisation and very excited to the next challenges in the future. The spinout of MolEndoTech is a step forward to push fundamental research into application and direct benefit to users."

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

DodgeBall: students v lecturers

We recently held our our first ever student vs lecturer DodgeBall tournament. This was apparently great fun and, who knows, it may even become an annual tradition….
Congratulations to Feisal and his team ‘Diversity’ for being the first winners of the BHCS Students Vs Lecturers Cup.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Lecturer's TEDx talk on immunology/inflammation

See Professor Simon Jackson's new TEDx talk on communication between immune cells (based on some of his work with cell models and lung infections) entitled "Every breath you take – how cell barriers protect the body"

Lecturer wins 'Jewel of India' award

One of our newer lecturers, Tina Joshi, has just been awarded the Hind Rattan, or ‘Jewel of India’. This is one of the highest awards given to non-resident Indians by the NRI Welfare Society of India, and celebrates her work in combating the rise of antibiotic resistance. You can read more about this on the university site here.

Friday, 5 January 2018

School responds to importance of genomics

The increasing awareness of the importance of genetic differences between individual patients poses a series of challenges to modern healthcare and related education. Two of our teaching staff, Lynn McCallum and Elaine Green, went to the recent meeting of the Westminster Health Forum entitled Future of Personalised and Genomic Medicine held on the 14th of December 2017 in London.

Over the past two years the School has moved to meet these challenges, specifically as laid out in the QAA's 2015 Benchmark statement for Biomedical Sciences. This has resulted in the inclusion of genomic and bioinformatics within undergraduate taught programmes to ensure graduates are skilled and prepared to deal with this massive change of practice within their career. The MSc in Biomedical Science has a core taught module on Genomics and Proteomics to provide a comprehensive overview of basic genomics and proteomics, understanding the latest experimental techniques and interpretation of data. Bioinformatics is also available as an optional taught module.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Lecturer wins national teaching award

Congratulations to Andy Foey, our Associate Professor in Immunology, who has just won the inaugural Teaching Excellence Award of the British Society for Immunology.

You can read more about this on the university website and there will be an interview with Andy in the next edition of Immunology News, due out February 2018.