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Three tales from the biomedical frontier

Date/Time: Thursday 17 May 2018

Three researchers – winners of the Faculty of Medical Sciences’ postgraduate public speaking prize – described their quests at the cutting edge of science and how their findings may underpin the medical treatments of tomorrow.

  • Ríona McArdle (Institute of Neuroscience): What can walking tell us about dementia?

Have you ever really thought about the role played by the brain in walking? It seems automatic for most of us. But our brain has to work very hard to keep us on our feet. Changes in walking can act as a red flag for changes in our brain, such as dementia. In this talk, Riona will explore what walking can tell us about dementia and why she thinks this can be a useful tool to help diagnose dementia, and improve how we manage and care for this condition.

  • Clare Willis (Institute for Cell & Molecular Biosciences): It's a small, small world

It’s a small, small world in which we live. We are surrounded by bacteria living all around us, in an incredible range of environments. Bacteria have many mechanisms to help them survive in harsh conditions, with one of these survival mechanisms being the ability to form spores – cells released as escape capsules with the ability to lie dormant for many thousands of years. Clare studies the formation of spores using microscopes. We hope that studying spores will help us understand bacteria better as well as providing us with new ways to target harmful bacteria. 

  • Julia Whitehall (Institute of Neuroscience): As we age, do our biological batteries promote bowel cancer

Julia’s research is very much driven towards putting a break on bowel cancer growth, which is the second most common cause of cancer related death in the UK. She us investigating how our biological batteries, also known as the mitochondria, are altered as we age, and how these alterations might be involved in the promotion of bowel cancer. By finding out how our biological batteries might be involved in the promotion of bowel cancer, it could provide us with new ways of targeting tumours in cancer therapy.