Hands-on science for Brighton students

Young people with an interest in science and engineering can learn how to turn their passion into a career at a science fair in Brighton tomorrow (11 July).

Big Bang @ Brighton will take place at the University of Brighton and organisers are promising “an exciting, colourful and noisy event” aimed at encouraging more students to pursue further studies and potential careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Organised by STEM Sussex, the University of Brighton’s STEM outreach department, the event is funded by the Sussex Learning Network’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), a four-year programme aimed at encouraging more young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, into higher education.

Big Bang @ Brighton will feature a range of hands-on activities, workshops and shows provided by many local companies, universities and colleges and other organisations, highlighting the STEM-related opportunities available to young people in the area. Read More

New way to tackle diabetes and obesity 

A pioneering scheme to reverse diabetes by allowing people to monitor their own metabolism rates was among the healthcare initiatives discussed at the University of Brighton’s Healthy Futures event.

Dr Wendy MacFarlane, Head of the Diabetes Research Group at the University, presented a talk about how Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems (CGMS) – worn on a patient’s abdomen – can be used to build personal profiles based on an individual’s blood glucose levels and their metabolism. 

The scheme, entitled GlycoTrain, will be of particular relevance to people at risk of Type 2 diabetes or those who want to lose weight. GlycoTrain can help reverse the effects of diabetes and allow users to build a personalised diet and fitness plan. 

Dr MacFarlane and her team at the University will ask patients to document their eating and exercise patterns, moods and sleep habits in a diary. Staff can then use these details to create a specific programme for each person and advise them on what areas to prioritise in the effort towards improved health and better management of their condition.

The initiative is currently being trialled by Dr MacFarlane and volunteers can sign up to participate by emailing w.m.macfarlane@brighton.ac.uk. 

Dr MacFarlane said: “It’s about giving people control over their metabolism. We’re working with people at a very high risk of Type 2 diabetes or who are trying to get their weight under control.

“With kids who drink a lot of fizzy pop, for example, their blood glucose levels soar – and once they can see that, they understand. The Continuous Glucose Monitoring System helps people understand their own metabolism.” Read More

Professor Matteo Santin

A look at Brighton’s healthy research

Microscopy lab

More than 200 experts from all over the UK and Europe are coming to see what research and enterprise in the field of health is taking place at the University of Brighton – on the day the NHS celebrates its 70thbirthday.

The Healthy Futures Showcase will be at the University of Brighton’s Huxley Building in Moulsecoomb on July 5.

Professor Matteo Santin, the University’s Professor of Tissue Regeneration and Academic Lead for the Healthy Futures, said: “There will representatives from local and European companies Brighton and Hove City Council and the NHS attending, and what better day to hold the event – the day the NHS celebrates 70 years.”

Professor Santin said the University’s research and enterprise activities in the field of health “reflect the vibrant and multi-faceted character of the city that provides a unique environment to study and project issues of global relevance.”

For more information go to: https://bit.ly/2Mj7pai

Biological Sciences Student publishes in Journal of Applied Microbiology

Previous Bsc (Hons) Biological Sciences graduate Mr Oliver Kitt and staff from PaBS have recently published a study into the microbial activity of a modified calixerene polymer bound to a silicone substrate in the presence of pathogens associated with catheter infections. The study showed that the calixerene polymer is the active part of the coating and that biofilm formation was dramatically reduced.

Oliver, a former Biological Sciences student at UoB graduated in 2011, then returned to the university as a research assistant working alongside Dr Anna Guildford, Mr Chris Morris and Dr Ian Cooper.

Oliver says “Working on this project after my degree was a great learning experience, both about laboratory work and some of the business aspects surrounding it. Working in the lab was a fun and fulfilling time and I enjoyed every moment.”

The paper, titled “The effect of urinary Foley catheter substrate material on the antimicrobial potential of calixerene-based molecules” and published in Journal of Applied Microbiology, can be read here

£15,000 boost for breast cancer research

The University of Brighton has received a £15,000 grant to find a way to stop the body preventing some breast cancer treatments from working.

Scientists have discovered that some people have a gene variation that not only inhibits some cancer treatments but also increases the risk of cancer recurrence.

The new funding is from Team Verrico which supports cutting edge research into new or improved treatments for cancer. The volunteer charity is named after Anna Verrico, a mum of two who died from triple negative breast cancer in 2013. The national charity also supports poorly parents with second opinions in Harley Street and offers counselling to families affected by cancer.

The funding will explore the relationship between receptors on the surface of cells called ADRB2, and cancer. When someone is diagnosed with breast cancer the resulting stress releases adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones which bind to ADRB2 on the surface of the cancer cells. This can stop some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, from working.

The University’s team comprises Dr Melanie Flint, Reader in Cancer Biology; Dr Caroline Garrett, Human Tissue Governance Manager; Dr Greg Scutt, Principal Lecturer; and Dr Andrew Overall, Senior Lecturer, all from the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. Read More

Try out teaching on a paid summer internship. Apply by 13 May. 

The University of Brighton Academies Trust in partnership with the University of Brighton is offering paid internships in four Sussex secondary schools for 4-weeks this summer. This opportunity could help you gain valuable experience teaching maths or physics if you are considering teaching as a career. 

As an intern you will be paid £300 a week and you can apply for this opportunity if you are in the penultimate year of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subject undergraduate degree. 

Activities may include working with experienced teachers on planning, shadowing and lesson observations; helping plan and deliver lessons; running projects and master classes for pupils and providing small group support for pupils.

The internship offers: 

  • • Hands on experience in a school for 4-weeks from mid-June to mid-July 2018
  • • The opportunity to earn while you learn. You will be paid £300 a week
  • • Full support from a dedicated mentor and support from subject teacher in your school
  • • The chance to experience mathematics or physics teaching before you commit to it as a career.

To find out more and apply by 13 May visit: www.brightonacademiestrust.org.uk/internship

Tochukwu Ozulumba

Soapbox scientist

A Brighton scientist is leaving her laboratory to stand on a soapbox and explain to passers-by how nanomaterials – a thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair – can help fight infections.

Tochukwu Ozulumba, a PhD candidate in the University of Brighton’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, is one of 12 science, technology, engineering and maths scientists taking part in a Soapbox Science event on Brighton seafront.

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