My placement at GlaxoSmithKline

Emma Greening
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

“Choosing to do a placement year at GlaxoSmithKline was one of the best choices I could’ve made during my degree. Spending a year working in the management of Phase II-IV clinical trials has given me so many opportunities to learn about the drug development process, and play a key role in the progression of new therapies in the Immunoinflammation, Neurosciences and Dermatology therapy area. I was able to experience a scientific career away from the lab bench, and the skills I’ve gained during this time will be completely invaluable when returning for final year and when applying for graduate jobs. I really couldn’t recommend applying for an industrial placement year enough!”

An experience of a lifetime

Anna Marie Lawn, third year BSc(Hons) Ecology student tells us about her time volunteering over the summer.

From July-September 2017, I volunteered with the organisation of the Society for the Protection of Turtles in Northern Cyprus, working with the native green and loggerhead sea turtle species.

There, I worked and lived for 6 weeks with 25 students, sharing mattresses laid out on the floor of a room and outside the building on some inhabitants setting quiet alarms as not to wake up others on different shifts, and all equally in our permanent state of being covered head to toe in sand from the previous day. In the day, we made lunch out of whatever was in the communal fridge (mostly pita bread and halloumi) with two students who had been blessed with a day off, cooking each night using whatever vegetables we could find for a low enough price at a nearby market.

Our work day rotated between night and day shifts, consisting of 10-15 hour days. Night workers patrolled protected beaches from 8:30pm-7am, asking people on the beach after hours to leave, and finding adult female sea turtles who we would observe laying eggs and marking out the locations with GPS co-ordinates. Adults would be flipper tagged, have their carapace measured length and width and have their behaviour recorded; all in the dark with only our faint red head torches shining.

Day work consisted of opening and closing ring cages (used to protect the turtles from crabs, foxes and dogs that people would illegally bring to the protected beach) these would be opened according to the time of day and heat of the sand, allowing any hatchlings to leave their nest during the day when the sand is not too hot, and closing the cages in the evenings so the night workers could collect hatchlings for weighing, measuring and biopsying. They would be released the following night- when they are most likely to escape the watchful eyes of predators.

The bulk of day work involved excavating nests that had hatched, or record unsuccessful nests where no eggs hatched.

This work was extremely labour-intensive. One person would locate, and dig an ever-collapsing area of sand that the night workers had marked out 2 months before, after observing the females lay and marking the location of her egg chamber. Digging had to be done gently enough to avoid harming any hatchlings that could be over 1m deep in the cool softer sand. Once, I had over half of my body length head down into a hole in the sand with the Mediterranean sun pounding on my back, I would carefully remove fragments and unhatched eggs and pass them up to my colleagues, along with any survivors that had struggled to get out, or stuck under plastic caught in the nest. Fragments and eggs would be ordered under a range of criteria, along with information about the nest that would be used for the numerous research projects taking place.

Working closely with fellow students, (mainly ecologists and zoologists) watching endangered animals from hatchlings to adulthood emerge, some for the first time, is something that many of us had spent our lives waiting to see. It gives you a special bond to the people you work with, to the country and to the beaches which I worked on every day for all but 1 day off I had in 6 weeks. The extremely hard work we did across the 3 bases in Northern Cyprus (one dealt with over 12,000 hatchlings this season!) is worth the lifelong friends, the experiences and the satisfaction you gain when you release a hatchling that you pulled from the plastics littered across the beaches. This was the experience of a lifetime, and I cannot wait to go back.

How good is your garden for wildlife?

Our mammalian biologist Dr Dawn Scott and fellow experts are revealing the secret lives of animals and insects that live in gardens and lawns.

Watch out for Dr Scott who is featuring in a new BBC 4 TV programme ‘The British Garden: Life and Death on your lawn’.

Dr Scott said: “For this programme we assessed the biodiversity in eight gardens to see how different gardens support wildlife and what features of those gardens were the best for wildlife.”

Presented by Springwatch’s Chris Packham, the film looks “beneath the peonies and petunias” to reveal how male crickets bribe females for sex, how a robin’s red breast is actually war paint and how a single litter of foxes can have up to five different fathers.

The programme is scheduled for broadcast at 9pm on 11 July.

A warm welcome at our open day

Sunshine, blue skies, our brilliant ambassadors and friendly staff welcomed visitors to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June.

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and campus where you will be studying. You’ll also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking about beginning your studies in 2018 and missed this one, find out more about upcoming events on our website.

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Moulsecoomb Campus Open Day

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and the campus where you will be studying. You will also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking of beginning your studies in 2018 come along to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June. Find out more about open days on our website.

Quorum Technologies Electron Microscopy prize

If you are currently in your final year and using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) in your project you are eligible for consideration for this years Quorum Technologies Electron Microscopy prize 2016-17, for final year undergraduate projects.

There is a £200 project prize this year, which will be awarded in recognition of the most commendable undergraduate final year project utilising microscopy.

To enter please send a copy of your project to Dr Jonathan Salvage either by email or as a paper copy marked for Dr Salvage’s attention to the school office, by Friday 9 June (latest).

Good luck!

Ways to Wellbeing

1. THE BIG CHILL
Wednesday May 10th in Cockcroft 327 12 – 3Come along, enjoy some rest, relaxation and therapeutic activities, healthy snack and a chance to sit quietly or have a chat and gain some tips on stress management from your SSGT Charlotte Morris and advice on revision and exam techniques from Academic Skills Tutor Fiona Ponikwer.

We look forward to seeing you there!

2. TODAY! FIVE WAYS TO WELLBEING
SSGTs will be on hand with information, freebies, activities and special guests today May 9th 12 – 2

3. WELLBEING WORKSHOPS
Develop your bounce! Become more resilient to stress – Wednesday 24th May, 1:30 – 3, Mithras G6

For more information / to book: https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/studentnewsandevents/2016/10/07/wellbeing-workshops/

4. MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS drop in
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Your SSGT Charlotte Morris will be available on Wednesday 10th May at Huxley reception 10 – 12:30 to share resources and answer any questions you have about mental health – PLUS ENJOY A FREE MASSAGE! 

There will be extra availability for confidential one to one appointments with Charlotte until the end of the month: to make an appointment to discuss any aspect of stress, wellbeing, mental health or anything at all which is affecting you / your studies, please email ssgtpabs@brighton.ac.uk

For more wellbeing information and tips like my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pabsstudentsupport/

You can also gain support and advice from Student Services: studentservices@brighton.ac.uk and the Student Union.

BSS and NSS Survey

Unless you have been avoiding emails, not coming into university and not talking to anyone in the School you will, no doubt, be aware that the all undergraduate students are being asked to give their feedback on their university experience to date via either the Brighton Student Survey or the National Student Survey. This feedback is extremely important to both the school and university and helps us make changes for you.

You can read about some of the changes we made this academic year as a consequence of feedback from last year please do have a look at the your voice matters blog (https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/yourvoicematters/school-of-pharmacy-and-biomolecular-sciences/ )

The Brighton Student Survey (BSS)

The BSS is the School and University’s main opportunity to gather feedback from all level 4 and 5 students so that we can understand what we are doing well and what we can improve.  The BSS is opened on Monday 6 February and will close at midnight on Monday 6 March, if you haven’t yet, please do take 10 minutes to complete the survey – there are only a few days left and every response matters. Completing the survey automatically enters you into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a £200 voucher from the university.

How do I complete the survey?

The National Student Survey (NSS)

The National Student Survey (NSS) is commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and is a national survey, undertaken by Ipsos MORI, which gathers the views of all final year undergraduates about what it has been like to study their course at their institution.

The survey comprises 27 questions in the survey cover teaching, assessment and feedback, learning opportunities, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, personal development, and the student voice. There are also questions about careers, course delivery, work placements, welfare resources and facilities, social opportunities and overall satisfaction.

How do I complete the survey?

Because the school would really like to receive feedback from as many students as possible we have decided to donate £100 to the student society associated with the course that has the highest proportion of their students completing both the BSS and NSS so your society could receive up to £200 for 10 minutes of your time.

Crohn’s Awareness Week

Hello, my name Is Adam Waugh. I suffer from a condition that many people don’t necessarily. I’m writing this piece to shed a little light on the world of Crohn’s and Colitis , not just what it is but also what it is like for the thousands of people that suffer with a condition that even they know very little about.

Crohn’s disease is defined as “a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine, especially the colon, ileum and is associated with ulcers”. To those who suffer from it, it is much more than that. Crohn’s disease is an unfortunate lifestyle forced upon someone that affects everything from their diet to their social life. Crohn’s disease and its many forms are what is known as an “autoimmune disorder”. This is where the body’s own immune system attacks the natural bacteria in the gut trying to fight off an infection that doesn’t exist. In doing so it creates ulcers and tears in the intestinal wall which affect the ways in which food passes through the intestines. This can lead to some pretty un-fun side effects such as, constipation, diarrhoea, malnutrition and in worst cases anaemia from loss of blood. The most common symptom of the illness is an urgent and sudden need to go to the toilet. This causes a lot of distress and panic for sufferers as well as for many can be very embarrassing to have to constantly excuse yourself to use the toilet.

The biggest problem many sufferers face from Crohn’s disease is misdiagnosis, with over 115,000 people in the UK suffering from this condition the vast majority of which will have been misdiagnosed at some point along the line. I personally was misdiagnosed for 2 years with irritable bowel syndrome due to lack of knowledge on the subject and lack of testing done. Another big issue is the way Crohn’s can affect each individual sufferer. As it is different from person to person, what they can and can’t eat, what does and doesn’t trigger symptoms, it becomes very hard to treat. There isn’t one single way to treat the illness often requiring years of trial and error with medication and other therapies in order to achieve a decent lifestyle. For those who aren’t as lucky and don’t respond to medication the only other alternative is often surgery, this involves removing a large portion of the affected intestine and the use of a stoma bag which for some is the most embarrassing thing possible.

There is ongoing research to find a cure for this condition with help from societies such as Crohn’s and Colitis which provides help to those in need, organising events and funding research into a cure. Their website can be found at https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/. As of yet there is no cure only ways to manage the symptoms, there is hope however that there will be a cure someday in the future.