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
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 Brighton 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.
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.
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.
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>
BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences
“My experience as R&D Technician at Biocompatibles is heavily lab-based and the confidence I’ve gained in carrying out experimental work and reporting my findings to an industry standard has been significant. I work on a number of projects in which I have a range of responsibilities such as running polymerisation reactions, characterising different bead prototypes, and exploring catheter delivery techniques. It’s very rewarding to finally put my years of education to good use. I’m having a great time and could not recommend a placement year highly enough!”
For this post we have a guest piece by one of our new first year students Alexander Ludlow. Alex has just started on the BSc(hons) Chemistry course here at Brighton and has kindly recorded his experience of the Welcome Week here which cuyliminated in a social event in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry, followed by ChemSoc’s first social event of the year (without the staff present!).
My first day studying chemistry at Brighton had a light start, we were welcomed by the Head of School who put into context what studying in Brighton meant and how we can get the most of it. The day mainly consisted of activities to familiarize yourself with the Campus and online student learning environment. To finish the day off we competed against other tutor groups for a scavenger hunt, which I was sceptical about, but ended being a very enjoyable task, where I not only got to know people in my tutor group, but also got to know the buildings where I’d be taught.
Today was some administration before we can get into the Chemistry laboratories. Later in the day we had a fun lab activity, where there was a simulation of typical hazards and bad practise in the lab. We had to explain to the technician the hazards we had found and how we would deal with them.
My Wednesdays are not very busy because the University likes to keep this day open for you to do sports, should you choose to. We had our first Course related talk today, detailing how we should study, which was helpful. Our lecturer, the Inorganic chemist named Ian Gass, whom is a fan of Iron, and sounds like Frankie Boyle, created a light and fun environment, whilst still speaking in a very detailed manner allowing me to follow what he was saying easily. For an example on note making and the importance of attendance he taught us about Crystal field theory, I found it very difficult and almost hypocritical the idea that a ligand forming a dative covalent bond with a central metal ion, can be considered to have an ionic interaction with the central metal ion. I said to one of my peers “I’ve just realised chemistry isn’t black and white” they replied “have you only just realised?”. Chemistry is so beautiful and complex so it needs to be explained via a model that can represent the main features in a simplistic way, because to be able to understand chemistry you need a broad understanding of how many things work. It’s only now I realise I was being taught the ‘lite’ version of chemistry in previous education and the simplified version. I am excited for the year ahead but also a tad scared about the content, and the only thing I can do is be proactive and work as hard as I can and seek support when I need it.
Thursday was a late start, not much chemistry involved, because today was freshers fair, 6000 students piled into AMEX stadium to sign up for the 116 societies Brighton university had to offer. A good day and was a surprising sight.
Friday was a fun day. Whilst the 5 sets of stairs in the Watts building weren’t fun, the talk on keeping your online image positive and working on describing your weaknesses and strengths was helpful. Next, we had a small talk from the Royal Society of Chemistry which was interesting, and found out the results to Monday’s scavenger hunt. My team only got a silver, but I’ll take that. Monday was also ChemSoc’s first social. I really enjoyed meeting 3rd years and hearing their experiences and tips for first year, chemistry at UoB seems to be a tight knit group that all seem to know and support each other.
Thanks Alex for giving us an insight into your first week. We’ll catch up with the new students later in the year.
Our next Open Day is Saturday 21st October. You can visit the main University of Brighton website to sign up.
This week University of Brighton is co-hosting the British Science Festival 2017. Last night if you headed to the East Street Tap pub in Brighton you will have happened across some crazy chemistry turning wine into gold! Dr Peter Cragg astounded the patrons of the pub by taking an ordinary glass of wine and extracting gold nanoparticles from the acids you find within it.
There is still more fun to be had at the British Science Festival check out their website for details.
Good luck to everyone receiving A-Level results tomorrow!
If your exams have gone differently from the way you expected, or you have had a change of heart about the course you want to do then Clearing can be a great way to start that journey.
Our Clearing hotline will be open on Thursday from 7am
Call us on 01273 644000
Full advice about Clearing can be found on the University of Brighton website:
Get to know us better and visit us at a Clearing information day.
You’ll meet academics from your subject, take a tour of your campus and facilities and get advice about student finance, university life and accommodation.
Find out more about Clearing information days.
Dr Dmitriy Berillo, a Marie Curie Research Fellow in our department, has been awarded the prize for best presentation at the 19th International Conference on Environment, Water and Wetlands for his outstanding work on the biodegradation of chlorophenol derivatives using macroporous material.
The petrochemical industry, textiles, leather production, domestic preservatives, and petrochemicals are the main sources of exposure of phenol derivatives and chlorophenols(CPs) into the environment. The International Agency for Research on Cancers categorized CPs as potential human carcinogens and they are very hazardous to the environment and animals. The aim of Dmitriy’s work is to develop a bioremediation system for phenol derivatives & CPs based on macroporous materials, which we believe can be efficiently used for wastewater treatment.
We are very excited to be hosting the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry tomorrow (13 June).
More than 60 11 – 13 year olds from 16 schools will take part in practical events and will use their analytical chemistry skills to solve problems. They will also be split into teams to compete in a ‘University Challenge’. All students will be awarded individual prizes and certificates and the winning teams will be given prizes for their schools.
As part of the festival, Professor Hal Sosabowski, Professor of Public Understanding of Science in our school, will be giving a lecture using liquid nitrogen, liquid oxygen and solid carbon dioxide.
The festival is being held in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, one of 49 being organised in universities and colleges around the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The festivals are an initiative of The Salters’ Institute, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences amongst the young, and to encourage careers in the teaching of chemistry and in the UK chemical and allied industries.