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. Continue reading

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

£221,000 to find a new tool to help fight cancer

Bhavik Patel and Melanie FlintThe University of Brighton has been awarded £221,000 to develop a sensor device that will measure biomarkers in tissue to aid personalised cancer therapy.

Currently, little is known about how different amounts and types of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species influence the state of tumours and their response to chemotherapy.

Researchers will be looking to develop a novel electroanalytical sensor that can monitor these species over long time frames and provide answers to these questions.

Continue reading

Breakthrough in ageing research

University of Brighton scientists have helped discover a way of regenerating  ageing skin cells – with compounds based on those found in red wine, dark chocolate and red grapes.

Laboratory experiments showed cells not only look physically younger but behave more like young cells and start dividing.

Professor Richard Faragher, the University’s Professor of Biogerontology, and Dr Lizzy Ostler, Head of Chemistry, said the breakthrough should generate more research into tackling health issues associated with ageing.

Professor Faragher said: “These findings illustrate the enormous potential of ageing research to improve the quality of later life. Older people no more want to be sickly ‘frequent flyers’ with the NHS than teenagers do.

“A recent Government report recognised historic underinvestment in ageing research in the UK. I say to politicians of all parties: Redress this now and give our older people the healthy futures they deserve.”

Dr Ostler said: “Breakthroughs of this kind really need chemists and biologists working on research and teaching together under the same roof. We prize our multidisciplinary collaborative atmosphere at Brighton. This breakthrough vindicates that approach.”

The scientists, members of the University’s Stress, Ageing and Disease Centre of Research and Enterprise Excellence, worked together to select the best compounds for testing from a library designed and synthesised by Dr Vishal Birar, whilst he was undertaking a University of Brighton-funded PhD studentship under Dr Ostler’s supervision. Continue reading

High note for “Sister Act” Gospel choir

A Brighton choir has reached the finals of the national University Gospel Choir of the Year (UGCY) competition.

Sound of Zion, based at the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus, will be competing against eight other university gospel choirs at a televised event at the Dominion Centre in Wood Green, London, on 24 March.

Founded by Debbie-Ann Ofosuware, who graduated last year from the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (BScHons Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences), and Teniola Taiwo who graduated from the University’s Brighton Business School (BAHons in Business and Marketing), the choir comprises singers from both Brighton and Sussex universities.

Teniola, a Marketing Assistant in Brighton, said: “I can’t believe we’ve reached the finals! I never thought we’d have such an opportunity when we first started. It’s been an incredible journey and so many lives have been touched along the way – so even if we don’t win, we’re still grateful.”

The final is described by the UGCY organisers as a “Sister Act meets X Factor” event for the whole family. Judging will be singer-songwriter Stephanie Sounds, and Creative/Music Director Ayo ‘Ace’ Oyerinde, Mobo Award winning Gospel artist Volney Morgan and record producer Les Moir from Integrity Music.

Other finalists include Imperial College Gospel Choir, Cambridge University Gospel Choir, Manchester Harmony Gospel Choir, and returning champions London College of Creative Media Choir.

University Gospel Choir of the Year is a voluntary organisation providing a platform for university gospel choirs across the UK to develop and showcase their musical abilities.

Tickets for the 6.30pm show are available at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/ugcy2018

Student research success

Yesterday our final year MChem students had a day trip to London to the home of UK chemistry, the Royal Society of Chemistry‘s Burlington House base. The event was an early career research conference on environmental chemistry hosted by the RSC Environmental Chemistry Interest Group

MChem students outside Burlington House

An event of this sort welcomes research presented by PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, a smaller friendlier way to present your work and gain valuable experience as well as find out about a wide range of topics in the area. In this case though, we showcased how undergraduate research can be every bit as important and that it is never too early to start your research career.

The day started with a warm welcome and some interesting talks from early career researchers from several different institutions.
Good time was given to the poster session which allowed the presenters time to speak to everyone about their work. The worthy winner of the poster prize certainly had a good talking point with acetate overlays for her mapping project of lead in Glasgow. Interactive posters, a great idea. Our students got to talk to PhD students about their work and what it was like to do a PhD, the real life version from the coal-face.

Lunch provided additional networking opportunities, and a free lunch which students always seem to enjoy! Though for one of our students the nerves were setting in as her talk neared.

Sarah Chandler presented her work from her third year research project on developing autonomous electrochemical sensors to analyse metals in the marine environment. It’s quite unusual for third year students to undertake real research but here at B20171215-100356.jpgrighton we feel it’s the best way of developing their practical skills and ability to think about more than what is presented for examination. Starting in the third year also means they are already skilled researchers by the time it comes to their final year projects and their can use this experience when applying for PhD positions.

 

Sarah’s project was very successful and she worked hard to understand a new area and add her own ideas during the process. Ultimately she managed to develop a sensor that could detect sub-ppb levels of As in real samples, and with a little more development should work well in the field without additional reagents. During the talk she impressed with her knowledge and ability to convey the intricacies of her work with clarity and interest. That she is still to complete her first degree only added to the impact of her presentation.

The day ended with a great keynote explaining one very varied career path with some interesting tales and some great advice for the students starting out. Not least that often what seems like a disaster at the time can turn out to be great interview fodder when you explain how you dealt with it.
The final act of the day after thanking all the presenters was the oral presentation prize.

Much to her surprise Sarah was awarded the prize, testament to her tale20171215-101420.jpgnts and proving that you don’t have to be doing a PhD to undertake great research. I’m sure she’ll go far.

All the students got so much out of the day, from hearing research from people not far from where they are in their careers, to the great career advice from the two keynotes and the networking opportunities provided so well throughout the day. We’d like to thank the RSC Environmental Chemistry Group organising committee for a successful day, we’ll definitely be back.

Determining the sex of human remains – using tooth enamel

Scientists at the University of Brighton have discovered a new method of determining the sex of human remains – by testing tooth enamel. DNA sequencing is currently the most common method but this can be expensive, time-consuming, and often depends on finding a good quality sample. The new method is quicker, cheaper, and uses tooth enamel, the most durable human body tissue and the hardest tissue in the human body. It survives burial well, even when the rest of the skeleton or DNA has decayed.

The breakthrough has the potential to improve studies of archaeological finds and medical and forensic science. Researchers have tested the method on the remains of seven adults from the late 19th Century as well as male and female pairs from three archaeological sites ranging from 5,700 years ago to the 16th Century in the UK. In each case, the method successfully determined the sex, as confirmed by comparison with coffin plates or standard bone analyses.

The research has been carried out by Dr Nicolas Stewart, senior lecturer in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, with colleagues at Durham University and the University of São Paulo in Brazil.

Continue reading

Come and visit us this winter

It might be cold outside but don’t let that stop you visiting us this winter!

If you’re considering starting an undergraduate course here in 2018, why not sign up to one of our campus tours taking place during December and January and find out more about what it’s like study at Brighton?

The tours will give you the chance to explore the campus where your course of interest is based, view our facilities and talk to our staff and students.

Find out more and book onto a tour <link to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/studying-here/visit-us/campus-tours/index.aspx>