Dr Neil Dufton reflects on two recent public engagement events that displayed the power of signs, symbols and emojis for science communication.
Imperial Festival 2018
From 0-100 mph is the only way I can describe running my first stall at Imperial Festival and boy what a ride!
If we go back in time eight months, 7 November 2017 to be precise, I was just starting out as one of the very first participants in the Imperial Engagement Academy. The course has been an insight into a diverse array of topics from practical skills in podcasting and writing to audience demographics and project curation. For me, the central theme of the course was to highlight the potential for our research to impact on the wider the community; it is within our grasp to break down the stereotypical image of a scientist portrayed to the world and re-forge it in new and inspiring ways! (more…)
How can we bring together imaging technology, art and philosophy to shape scientific research?
When we think of vascular health we are often guilty of presuming that we are primarily discussing the heart. Clearly the heart has a major role to play in regulating your blood flow; once our blood has exited the heart it must supply nutrients to every organ of our body and back to the heart in a cycle that takes about one minute. Any hindrance from a cholesterol-blocked artery or blood clot can have catastrophic results – however by the time we reach retirement our circulation will have exceeded 30 million laps around the body! This incredible feat is made possible by our blood vessels that not only form a vast network during your development in the womb, but are also constantly growing and remodelling throughout our life time. Our Vascular Science research group at the National Heart and Lung Institute is particularly interested in endothelial cells – the cells that line every blood vessel in our body. We want to understand how they work together to grow and form new vessels (a process called angiogenesis), as well as how they maintain these structures in response to injury and disease.
The abundance of blood vessels throughout all our tissues and organs has often meant that, in disorders such as chronic liver disease, the striking changes in vessel organisation, has been cited as a consequence of the disease. However, in our most recent study we challenge this perception by describing how changes in endothelial cells might play a central role in how liver disease begins and progresses to irreversible liver damage associated with conditions such as alcoholic liver disease. This change in perspective may also provide new avenues for both diagnostics and treatments of liver disease, which are currently largely restricted to abstinence and transplantation.(more…)