Author: Graduate School

London Malaria ECR Network Launch Event

In their effort to establish an Early Career Research (ECR) community for all malaria researchers based at London research institutes, PhD students organized a launch event at the Crick Institute to bring everyone together. Research assistants, research technicians, PhD students and junior postdocs who work under either computational or laboratory settings were encouraged to interact with researchers outside their own social/departmental circles and suggest their ideas about the future of this network. None missed the chance to also show-off their ‘Knowles-it-all’ expertise on a malaria-based pub quiz, while enjoying nibbles and drinks.

Over 50 people from four different London-based institutes registered for the event, with a turnout of 30.

4Cs Science Communication Writing Competition – People’s Choice Award

by Clavance Lim, MSc Student in the Department of Computing

Translating words to numbers

As humans, one way in which we are unique is our ability to communicate with complex language (arguably, science students possess this skill too). In contrast, computers ‘think’ not in language, but in binary numbers. Instead of the decimal system we count with, which uses the ten unique digits ‘0’ to ‘9’, computers ‘think’ only in ‘0’s and ‘1’s. This is because their hardware is controlled by tiny switches, which turn electrical current on or off. As it is difficult to control electrical current at such a microscopic level (switches can be as small as only 10x the size of an atom!),

4Cs Science Communication Writing Competition – 1st Place

by Michelle Lin, MRes Student in the Department of Life Sciences

Cryptococcosis: The Silent Killer

The young patient presented to the hospital with a fever, headache, seizures, and both eyes bulging out of their sockets. Suspecting an infection, doctors first treated the boy with a common antibiotic, Penicillin, presumably to knock out whatever bacterial agent they believed was causing his symptoms.¹

With the boy’s condition failing to improve, doctors kept the boy hospitalized as they searched for a diagnosis and administered various antibiotic and antiviral medications.

As his hospital stay dragged on, the boys condition continued to deteriorate until, after 52 days of ineffective treatments in the hospital, the boy succumbed to his illness.

4Cs Science Communication Writing Competition – 2nd Place

by David Ho, PhD Student in the Department of Physics

A really strong magnet can dissolve Everything

One wrong thing everyone knows about the universe is “conservation of matter”. It seems obvious: if you have a chair, you can move it, or turn it around, and you still have one chair. If these were the only experiments you did, you might proclaim that the number of chairs in the universe always stays the same.

Of course, it doesn’t take much thought to counter this: with a hammer you can easily change the number of chairs in the universe. But if you collect every splinter of leftover wood, you’ll find the same amount before and after the destruction.

4Cs Science Communication Writing Competition – Joint 3rd Place

by Eva Kane, PhD Student in the Institute of Clinical Sciences

It is 23rd January 1922. Toronto is cold, and so are you. You stop at a tavern, hoping to warm your numbed hands. You take a seat next to two men, introduce yourself and settle down to thaw.

One identifies himself as Dr Charles Best. “And my mentor, Dr Frederick Banting”.

“You catch us on quite an evening. We’ve just changed the course of history! Have you heard of the fatal disease, diabetes?”

You have but are not well-versed.

“Within the pancreas are clumps of cells that, under a microscope, look different.

4Cs Science Communication Writing Competition – Joint 3rd Place

by Imanol Duran, MSc Student, Department of Life Sciences

Quarantine Connection – Grandma Calling

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GRANDMA (with internet connection) GRANDSON (with a STEM degree)

ACT I. SCENE I. Spain. Each in their quarantine homes, awaiting the bending of the COVID-19 curve.

Grandma: Wait… I can’t see you, son. Grandson: Grandma, take the thumb off the screen (laughs). Yes, that’s it. Grandma: So what are those interesting things your mom told me about, you know, the ones to help uncle John’s lung cancer? (Accommodates in grandpa’s armchair, looking at the screen with the chin a bit too high). Grandson: They’re called senolytics, and are tiny molecules that target some specific cells in cancer.

PhD students are bringing science to your ears

Usually a medical tool used to check your ear canal, Otoscope is now also the name of a project led by PhD students at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS).

Learning how to surf the wave of podcast popularity, the students are producing interview-style episodes with the aim of discussing complex medical science topics in a way that is informative to other students who may not be familiar with biomedical jargon.

This activity, now sponsored by the Imperial Graduate School, is currently under preparation and the first episodes are expected to be released later this year.

Recorded at The Pod in White City Place, the podcast is bringing together in the studio experts on different fields of biomedical research with PhD students to discuss topics such as precision medicine, ageing as a drug target or how genes affect behaviour.

Two minutes with… Humera Ansari (Student Programme Leader – Research Communication Programme)

The Graduate School has appointed Student Programme Leaders in order to give doctoral students the opportunity to engage with our Professional Development Programme and shape its design and delivery.

In our new ‘Two Minutes with….’ series we will be introducing you to our current SPLs and finding out their thoughts so far on the role!

Name: Humera Ansari

Department: Chemical Engineering

Introduce your research: I study adsorption in shales for the purpose of enhanced recovery and carbon sequestration.

Student Programme Leader: Research Communication Programme

Why did you choose to apply for this particular SPL role?

Communicating research well is an essential skill for any researcher, and I have personally benefited significantly from attending these courses, so I felt that this area was where I could contribute the most.

Two minutes with… Ester Anaya-Boig (Student Programme Leader – Professional Effectiveness Programme)

The Graduate School has appointed Student Programme Leaders in order to give doctoral students the opportunity to engage with our Professional Development Programme and shape its design and delivery.

In our new ‘Two Minutes with….’ series we will be introducing you to our current SPLs and finding out their thoughts so far on the role!

Name: Ester Anaya-Boig

Department: Centre for Environmental Policy

Introduce your research: I am studying what aspects of the built and the social environment influence in people’s cycling behaviour

Student Programme Leader: Professional Effectiveness Programme

Why did you choose to apply for this particular SPL role?

I had attended quite a few courses and a couple of retreats from the Graduate School and I had found them really useful.

Two minutes with… Katia Hougaard (Student Programme Leader – Master’s Programme)

The Graduate School has appointed Student Programme Leaders in order to give doctoral students the opportunity to engage with our Professional Development Programme and shape its design and delivery.

In our new ‘Two Minutes with….’ series we will be introducing you to our current SPLs and finding out their thoughts so far on the role!

Name: Katia Hougaard

Department: Life Sciences

Introduce your research: My PhD project focuses on the innate defence responses of plants against aphids, an economically important insect pest.

Student Programme Leader: The MasterClass workshop series with Dr Helal Ahmed

Why did you choose to apply for this particular SPL role?