In celebration of Black History Month, medical student Yasmin Adelekan-Kamara shares her story on how she pursued her passion for medicine.
I still vividly remember the moment I decided to apply to medical school. It was not a decision that was easy for me, and this worried me having seen how natural it was for some of my peers to pursue medicine. Despite my genuine interest and passion there was always a doubt in my mind that I could never be the ‘ideal’ medical student I thought a university like Imperial wanted.
Rethinking medical school
Whilst I loved medicine, I also had a love for other vocations; journalism and architecture especially. This caused a great internal conflict for me. I believed to be the ‘ideal’ medical student, you had to initially be solely devoted to and have an unwavering commitment to medicine. Did the fact that I was questioning my decision mean I was not dedicated enough? (more…)
200 years on from the first successful human-to-human blood transfusion, this procedure has revolutionised patient care. However, there is still work to be done in sub-Saharan Africa, as Professor Kathryn Maitland explains.
Each year, around 2.5 million units of blood are transfused in the UK – that’s enough to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools! Since James Blundell performed the first successful human blood transfusion in 1818, this life-saving medical intervention has made many advances to ensure its accessed throughout the world. An important part of this is ensuring that any health system has adequate supplies of quality-assured and safe blood for transfusion through national and regional blood transfusion services (BTS). (more…)
Dr William (Bill) Frankland, aged 106, has helped transform our understanding of allergies during his long career in medicine. A pioneer in the field, Dr Frankland popularised the pollen count to help clinicians and patients understand what triggers their seasonal allergies. Originally published on the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust blog and reproduced here with permission, he reflects on his career and working for the NHS for 70 years.
People often ask me, how is it that I’ve lived until 106. All I can say is I’ve come close to death so many times but somehow I’ve always managed to miss it and that’s why I’m still here.
I was born in 1912, six weeks early. My identical twin brother and I weighed three pounds one ounce each but we both survived – he died in 1995, at age 83. As an early baby, that’s the first time I survived against the odds.
I first encountered hay fever when I was a child. I grew up in the Lake District where my brother and I spent our summers helping a local farmer with his hay. One day, I told my brother my eyes were itchy and I couldn’t go on. “You’re feeble,” he said. It took me 30 years before I realised I had a real problem with summer hay fever and about 90 years to grow out of that allergy.
When outbreaks emerge, speeding up vaccine development could be the difference between life and death. In this post, Dr Zoltán Kis provides an insight into how Imperial’s chemical engineers are making speedy vaccines a reality.
The worst Ebola epidemic in history swept across West Africa between 2014 to 2016, claiming 11,300 lives. This major outbreak was closely followed by the 2015-2016 Zika epidemic in Latin America. Preventing future epidemics is more important than ever and developing new vaccines are an essential weapon in fighting disease outbreaks. However, with the average vaccine development lasting 10 years, this is not comparable to the speed and frequency of outbreaks which can cause calamity in a matter of months. (more…)
Dr James Moss debunks some of the myths around medical school interviews and shares his personal perspective as a member of the interviewing panel for Imperial College School of Medicine.
Interviewing prospective students is a privilege that our staff and student panel members really enjoy. It makes us the custodians of the medical school, gatekeeping passage into our community. Our panels include staff and students, and every panel member has an equal say (and we don’t always agree!). We have about 20 minutes to interview each candidate and decide if we want to make them an offer. (more…)
Dr Peter Sarkies explains how information hidden in the evolutionary history of life on Earth has helped illuminate new insights into gene regulation.
In today’s challenging funding environment, studying evolution – the long-term history of life on earth – might seem somewhat frivolous. How could studying evolution contribute to pressing issues such as human disease? Responding to this, biologists often use a famous quotation from Theodosius Dobzhansky:
“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
Whilst this quotation certainly sounds impressive, it’s by no means obvious exactly what Dobzhansky meant, let alone how it helps explain why the study of evolution is important. To understand its significance, we need to look at the statement in a little more depth. (more…)
In this post, Dr Richard Kelwick explores exosomes – the tiny vesicles that may hold great therapeutic potential.
The adult human body is composed of around 30 trillion cells! That’s a lot of cells, and researchers are still figuring out the remarkable processes that govern how our cells are exquisitely organised into the complex tissues, organs and systems that make up our bodies. In order for our cells to co-ordinate and organise themselves correctly they need to be able to communicate with each other at the molecular level. Cells can communicate with each other using a variety of different ways, either by physically tugging on neighbouring cells, or by secreting proteins, hormones and many other types of signalling molecules. Cells can also send exosomes to each other. (more…)
One year on from receiving her A-level results, Eva Tadros reflects on her first year of medical school.
How did you feel when you opened your A-level results last year?
It was all such an incredible adrenaline rush, to be perfectly honest. I experienced a whole spectrum of emotions – anxious, excited, worried, thrilled and petrified – all at once! I had built up that moment in my head for so long and I had envisioned every possible scenario and every single way it could work out – how I’d feel if I actually got the grades and got into my dream university and how it’d feel if I didn’t and what steps I would take afterwards. It was a little exhausting waiting for results day for so long and then it’s a little underwhelming after you open them because you’re just like – okay so what’s next? (more…)
Originally published on Dr Nick Hopkinson’s blog and reproduced here with permission, this post looks at the Tobacco Industry’s dark history of appropriation and subversion of science.
“It ain’t no new thing” sang Gil Scott Heron in 1972, condemning the appropriation of black culture by white recording artists. A recent research paper published in Tobacco Control throws light on Tobacco Industry appropriation and subversion of science. Their goal, to prevent or delay measures which reduce their ability to market products that are among the leading causes of death worldwide (1). (more…)
Healthcare and Design MSc student Peter White makes the case for why we need to think outside the box when it comes to innovation in healthcare.
Have you ever looked at something and thought, “how on earth did no-one invent that before?” You know the feeling. It’s the one you get while staring numbly at a copy of Harry Potter – all the while wondering how the idea of a boy who goes to school went unwritten for so long. It’s the one people probably had when the first guy rolled by with casters on the bottom of his chair. Even Facebook seems like such a simple idea in hindsight.
Forget happiness or sadness or the feeling of ‘it’s coming home’. It’s this constant ‘so close yet so far’ that’s the prevailing emotion in my life right now. A perpetual reminder that, yes, I’ll never be Mark Zuckerburg, or even a Google elf for that matter. All this is compounded by the fact that, according to my shiny laminated ID card, I’m supposed to be a healthcare design masters student at St Mary’s hospital in London, a building so old it seems to look down enviously at the geriatric ward within. (more…)