Taking a stand against cancer

Two University of Brighton scientists are joining a pop-up stand in Brighton’s Churchill Square shopping centre on Friday (1 Feb) as part of events to mark next Monday’s (4 Feb) World Cancer Day.

Marta Falcinelli, PhD researcher in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PABS), is passionate about fighting the disease and will be talking to members of the public at the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) event.

Marta joined the University’s Stress & Cancer group in 2016, fulfilling her ambition: “I have always been intrigued by science and at university I started to be very interested in molecular biology and scientific investigation, dreaming to perform experiments and work in a lab.

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New student? Hit the ground running!

To help you get the best start as a student here, we’ve put together some online activities called Hit The Ground Running.

Taking part in this programme isn’t compulsory and it’s not a test, it’s just a good way to prepare yourself for your studies and get to know your way around our online learning platform, studentcentral.

The activities will include tips for getting ready to study with us and help put you in touch with current students who can answer any questions you may have about the uni or your course.

You’ll be able to access this area the day after you enrol online, by logging in to studentcentral and clicking on the Hit The Ground Running banner on the home page.

Bhavik Patel and Melanie Flint

£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.

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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.

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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>