The university is hosting this year’s Royal Society of Chemistry Bright Spark Symposium. Run by the RSC Analytical Science Network this free event is designed to provide a low-pressure, friendly platform for early career analytical scientists to present their work to like-minded individuals and provide networking opportunities. The day will include a number of talks from our bright sparks as well as a poster session. All aspects of analytical science welcome! Spaces are free but limited.
Last week we celebrated with this year’s graduates at their ceremony at the Brighton Centre. It is always a wonderful day seeing our students graduate and take all that hard work and determination forward in their lives. We wish you the very best for the future and hope you all keep in touch and come back to visit us. Join our LinkedIn alumni group and subscribe to this blog to keep up-to-date.
This year we also have some staff leaving. Course leader for Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences and organic chemistry lead Dr Gerry Gallacher has retired this summer. We are fortunate he will return in an honorary position for research and to help more students with projects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Our Head of School Professor David Timson is also retiring soon and was honoured at the ceremony by students and staff in the school and wider community for his service and commitment to the school with a standing ovation.
Before the ceremony we had a celebration event for the school where we award prizes to the graduates and have a little fizz and nibbles inviting their families and friends along to share their achievements. This year’s Chemistry winners were:
RSC Downland Prize for the best chemistry project – Luke Hawkins
Chemistry Division prizes for highest achiever on the course:
- MChem – Brad Clarke
- BSc(hons) Chemistry – Pippa Veal
- BSc(hons) Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences – Jake Rigby
Alumni Prize (Chemistry) for Services to the School – Hayder Morsel
Today chemistry@brighton welcomes 21 schools from Sussex, Kent, Surrey and London for the Salters’ Institute Festival of Chemistry. Teams of year 7 and 8 children undertake two practical challenges one set by Salters and one by the university with the opportunity to compete for prizes along the way. chemistry@brighton staff are involved in judging, technical assistance, chemistry quiz and the teacher programme for the day. This is an annual event which we host each year enabling students to gain practical experience in our laboratories whilst having fun competing against other schools in the South East.
We’re recruiting for next year’s PASS leaders. It’s a great confidence booster and good way to meet the new first years, looks great on your CV and makes sure you remember all of that stuff you did in the first year. Email Dr Willows by end of May to register your interest.
May is project month for chemistry@brighton students in their 3rd and 4th years. Third year students hand their projects in just after Easter for binding and marking before their vivas next week. The MChem fourth years have submitted their scientific articles and are busy printing posters ready for their assessment day of vivas and poster session. Both third and fourth year projects here are full research tasks, and we often publish scientific papers with undergraduates as co-authors. It really sets them up for further research and improves their project management skills. These were some third years submitting a day early, great organisation skills guys! They don’t look too bleary eyed!
We’ve received information on some graduate opportunities coming up so have put them on our jobs page. Ensure you subscribe to the blog and check back regularly to see updates on vacancies we’ve been passed.
If you have a job or studentship you’d like to advertise then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This month has seen the launch of a new widening participation initiative by chemistry@brighton. STEP UP has been designed to inspire students at 16-18 level and work with their teachers to provide opportunities for those students who show promise but are perhaps not so good at the traditional exam. Working with local schools in Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex our aim is to show that chemistry@brighton is a real possibility for them. We have activities lined up to supplement their current studies including a lab experience day, taster lectures, study skills and work experience. Teachers are able to highlight to us students who have potential to succeed but for whatever reason might not see that result at A level. Working with the teachers we can then offer preferential admission to select students.
We’ve had a very busy summer here in chemistry@brighton and are looking forward to the return of students next week. Some exciting staffing news that has happened over the last few months.
Professor Lizzy Ostler has been promoted to the university professoriate as Professor of Chemical Biology. This reflects her fantastic research into the ageing process at the intersection of chemistry and biology and major contributions to the university.
We are delighted to welcome Dr Graham Pattison as lecturer in Organic Chemistry. I’m sure he’ll receive a warm welcome from all of the students when they return and already has some looking to undertake undergraduate research with him. He’s settling in well to the team and we wish him every success here with us. Stay tuned for more details.
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Today chemistry@brighton welcomes students in the middle of their A level studies from across Sussex for a day of practical work and advice about next steps. We’re really looking forward to welcoming them into our labs and showing them what the big instruments do. They’ll get hands-on experience of instruments they have been learning about and get a flavour of what it is like being a chemistry@brighton student. The day consists of a scenario where they are testing samples from the (unfortunately fictional) Huxley vineyard to find out why there is a problem with the taste. Is it contamination? Did someone use the wrong preservative? Hopefully the students will use their scientific skills to figure out what is wrong so the vineyard can get back on track.
Many students on the Chemistry and Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences courses at Brighton will already be familiar with the exciting world of small molecule therapies designed to slow ageing –through Dr Ostler’s (in)famous CH210 group consultancy report. The joys and difficulties of sorting anecdotal life extensionist optimisim from genuine scientific discoveries brought to life in this second year assessment gained a new twist this week.
Exciting new research conducted in a collaboration between Dr Ostler, Professor Faragher (also at the University of Brighton) and Prof Lorna Harries at Exeter University was recently published in BMC Cell Biology.
The discovery showed that novel small molecule analogues of the stilbene resveratrol (found naturally in red wine and chocolate) could “rejuvenate” senescent cells. The treated cells began to grow again and took on many features of “young” cells. The team also showed that this was because of changes in RNA splicing factors, the cellular machinery that allows cells to make many different kinds of protein from a single DNA sequence. The ability to use small molecules to intervene in this previously unexplored mechanism provides new possibilities for the development of anti-degenerative compounds that could allow people to remain heathier well into old age.
Earlier this week the mainstream press became interested in these discoveries, leading to some great headlines including the Sun’s “Wine’s end of the lines, Red wine and chocolate are secret to beating wrinkles, study says” and the Daily Mail’s “Chocolate and red wine ‘are the secret to beating wrinkles’: Scientists find both help rejuvenate old cells as well as the less dramatic “Reversing Aging: Scientists Make Old Human Cells Look And Act Younger in Breakthrough Discovery” from Newsweek and “Breakthrough: Scientists reverse aging in human cells” from Medical News Today. Our thoughts on the subject will be appearing soon in The Conversation.
All of this was made possible by chemistry and biology researchers working together – something we prize in our undergraduate degrees and that is reflected in our multidisciplinary School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. Whatever your conclusions about red wine and chocolate, it is clear that our researchers and students will keep generating much food for thought!