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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Athena SWAN silver award for our school

The university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science (PABS) has received a Silver Award from Advance HE’s highly-regarded SWAN Charter, which promotes gender equality in the representation, progression and success of staff and students in Higher Education.

The Silver Award was granted in recognition of actions implemented to advance careers of women in science over the past few years.

The School of Applied Social Science, meanwhile, won a Bronze Award for their first submission which was the result of concerted effort from across the school. The schools join the university’s School of Environment and Technology(SET) and Brighton and Sussex Medical School in holding an Athena SWAN prize. The awards are valid for four years.

Professor Tara Dean, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, is Chair of the Athena SWAN Steering Group and is the university’s Gender Equality Champion.

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Innovative installation to be hosted in Huxley Building

A cutting-edge installation which produces real-time digital art from the data in its immediate surroundings has been installed in the Huxley Building.

Duality of Life, was created by Nexus Studios, an award-winning company with offices in London and Los Angeles.

It consists of a dual-screen display that generates real-time digital ‘lifeforms’ from interactions and local data. The design evolves as the data shifts, with the ‘lifeforms’ changing shape and movement. Read More

New link between ‘harmless’ virus and heart damage

Researchers from Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), run jointly by the universities of Brighton and Sussex, have discovered a link between a virus and damage to cardiovascular tissue.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a very common virus similar to the herpes virus that causes cold sores and is generally considered harmless. The immune system usually controls the virus and most people don’t even realise they have it.

The work conducted under the supervision of Professor Florian Kern, Chair of Immunology at BSMS, shows that clinically relevant numbers of a specific type of immune cells only arise when infection with CMV is present. Read More

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. Read More

How pharmacists can help people with mental health issues

A University of Brighton pharmacist will be at the House of Commons for the launch of a campaign on how pharmacists can help identify and support people with mental health issues.

Claire May, Principal Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, said: “This is an extremely valuable campaign that will examine how pharmacists, as part of a multi-disciplinary approach, can help tackle the challenges facing the NHS in treating people with mental health issues.

“Over the last few years I have been extremely interested in how patients with mental health conditions are treated within the NHS so I have run several undergraduate projects looking at the perceptions and awareness of community pharmacists regarding their patients suffering from these conditions. Attending this event will help raise the profile of what community pharmacists can actually deliver to support these patients and ensure that mental health is recognised as a core part of the services provided.”

The campaign, being launched tomorrow (6 June) has been written by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Mrs May, who graduated from University of Brighton in 2001 and started her pharmacy career in community pharmacy, has worked as a prescribing advisor across the South East and went on to gain her own prescribing qualification in 2007.

She has worked with local Clinical Commission Groups, practicing pharmacists, Joint Programme Board and Health Education Kent Surrey Sussex and the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education on the provision of postgraduate training for pharmacists and allied health care professionals including independent prescribing.

For more on Mrs May, go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/staff/claire-may.aspx

Sport scholarship for Millie

University of Brighton has awarded a sports scholarship to Millie Hemsley who is studying Pharmacy MPharm here.

“Being a sportswoman has personally helped me  with keeping a healthy balance in my life between sport and education, (as it stops me trying to revise 24/7)! I am really enjoying my time at the University of Brighton so far and I am sure this will continue across the 4 years I am here.

I applied for the sports scholarship and was lucky to be awarded this for my sport (pole vault ) which I have participated in for 4 years at Lewes athletics club. During these 4 years I have achieved the necessary heights and been chosen to represent the county at the national English Schools Championships 4 years in a row against Ireland,Scotland and Wales.

This scholarship will hopefully give me the support I need to win a championship medal!”

We wish Millie the very best!!!

 

 

 

The University of Brighton provide scholarships that recognise and reward academic and sporting merit.  Find out more about our scholarships on our website.

 

Why treating stress could help beat cancer

The stress of being told you have breast cancer may be reducing the potency of drugs used to treat the disease, according to new research by the University of Brighton.

Early trials show stress-relieving medications may increase the efficacy of chemotherapy and by doing so, improve recovery. Managing stress and anxiety at an early stage, researchers say, could become routine.

Dr Melanie Flint

Dr Melanie Flint, Reader in Cancer Biology at the University of Brighton’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, has been studying the impact stress hormones have on patients, and the effect chronic psychological stress has on disease progression, as well as response to drug treatment. Dr Flint said: “Stress hormones are highly potent and can interact with almost every cell in the body including normal, cancer and immune cells.”

Her research has shown that DNA can be damaged as a result of the interaction between our cells and stress hormones, leading to cell transformation: “A diagnosis of breast cancer is a cause of a great deal of stress, which in itself, is a significant reason for stress management to be considered early on.”

Melanie is part of a team of scientists at the University of Brighton researching breast cancer. Dr Flint collaborates with Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield, Professor of Psycho-Oncology, who will be speaking at the British Science Festival on the 5 September, in an event titled, ‘Risk and uncertainty in breast cancer treatment’.

Dr Val Jenkins, who works with Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield said: “Combining the expertise of laboratory-based scientists with that of psycho-oncologists in an innovative area of research is likely to produce tangible benefits for patients receiving cancer treatments.”

Dr Flint works with women who have recovered from triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), accounting for roughly 20% of all breast cancers. She has found the period of most stress is different for each woman:

“Patients experience stress for a variety of reasons: through knowledge that they are high risk, enduring multiple biopsies, indirect stress of family members, as well as fear of pain, sickness and potential end of life. Some patients seek stress interventions such as exercise and positive reinforcement from medically-trained individuals.”

Each of the women Dr Flint worked with stated that stress was a major factor during their cancer history, and that they felt stress could play a role even in tumour progression and treatment.

Dr Flint said: “Determining the effects of stress on the efficacy of chemotherapy will have an impact on the potential utility of pharmacological interventions such as beta-blockers, or psychological interventions including mindfulness-based stress reduction, and on the correct time point for administration in the disease trajectory for greatest therapeutic effect.

“The research will impact patients and clinicians, through recognition that stress is a contributing factor for drug resistance in the treatment of breast cancer.”