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    UCL Events blog

    By Nick Dawe, on 6 May 2011

    Reviews of UCL public lectures, debates, exhibitions, shows, and more…

    Reflecting on the IRDR Panel Discussion: Heritage and Disasters

    By Guest Blogger, on 23 March 2016

    pencil-icon Written by Dr Farnaz Arefian, Enterprise Manager, UCL Institute for Risk and Disasters ReductionIRDR panel discussion

    The UCL Institute for Risk and Disasters Reduction (IRDR) successfully held its public panel discussion on Heritage and Disasters at UCL on 9 March, discussing cultural heritage protections and how to plan for and recover from disasters.

    The attendees enjoyed an interactive and thought-provoking discussion with the panelists and a drinks reception, during which attendees could network and continue their informal discussions followed the discussion.

    Five panelists from academia and practice engaged in a vibrant and lively discussion on how to protect cultural heritage from disasters such as earthquakes and conflicts and it was exciting to see attendees from across the heritage sector, including museums, heritage studies and NGOs, as well as attendees from practice.

    The panel included William Brown, National Security Adviser, Arts Council England; Dr Sergio Olivero, Head of Energy and Security Research Area at the Istituto Superiore sui Sistemi Territoriali per l’Innovazione (SiTI), Italy; Dr Kalliopi Fouseki, lecturer and course director for the MSc Sustainable Heritage at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage (ISH); Jonathan N. Tubb, Keeper (Head), Middle East, the British Museum.

    Dr Farnaz Arefian, Enterprise Manager at IRDR and Founder of ‘Silk Cities’ Platform, chaired the panel, opening the discussion by focusing on key cultural heritage preservation questions: Why the protection of cultural heritage is important and how we can protect and enhance its resilience to disasters? What are the complexities in practice? How existing academic discourse and research on heritage and disaster risk reduction can play role in heritage resilience? How the public and private sectors can be mobilized to proactively reduce disaster risk to our cultural heritage and enhance successful recovery and/or reconstruction when it is impacted? Read the rest of this entry »

    Lunch Hour Lecture: Bones, mummies, tuberculosis and ancient DNA

    By Ella Richards, on 18 March 2016

    As World Tuberculosis Day approaches on 24 March, Dr Helen Donoghue (UCL Clinical Microbiology) ends this term’s series of Lunch Hour Lectures by looking back at 9,000 year old tuberculosis DNA.

    MTB

    MTB via Flickr

    What is tuberculosis 

    Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) that spread via aerosol and primarily affects the lungs.

    Although there are current health scares about antibiotic-resistant strains of TB, due to modern sanitation, vaccination programmes and antibiotics there have not been any major TB epidemics in the UK in the 21st century. However, it is currently estimated that one third of the world’s population is infected with various strains of MTB. These infections often pass under the radar because the majority of them are latent, meaning that the infected person does not have any symptoms of the disease.

    TB is one of the world’s oldest diseases, in part due to this high level of latency. There are multiple strains of MTB, all associated with differing areas of the globe. What is striking about these strains is that people with TB generally carry the strain of MTB associated with their ethnic origin, despite their current location.

    For Dr Donoghue, this is evidence that MTB has evolved with humans. She argued that in the Neolithic and Palaeolithic periods, when humans lived in small populations, pathogens that were highly infectious and killed their hosts quickly failed to survive as they would simply wipe out tribes. In contrast, MTB’s combination of high latency rates and virulence means that carriers transmit the disease before dying.

    What’s more, evolving with humans has meant that there are numerous strains of extinct MTB, as well as extant MTB. The research conducted by Dr Donoghue and her team means that new methods are being perfected to analyse these extinct, ancient strains. Read the rest of this entry »

    International Women’s Day: Inspiring women, and what’s funny about Everyday Sexism?

    By Melissa Bradshaw, on 16 March 2016

    “If we didn’t have a pretty awesome sense of humour there’d be a f*** load more murders.”

    Just one of many memorable quotes from two of UCL’s many International Women’s Day events.

    Inspiring women

    “I don’t think you should apply for that job. They don’t take women, or people from red brick universities”, Nicola Brewer was told. She is now Dame Nicola Brewer, and UCL’s Vice-Provost (International), having held roles such as the first Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and British High Commissioner to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

    Dame Brewer was listing a series of pieces of advice she’d been given. “I’d like you to guess if I followed them.” The answer was always obviously “no you didn’t!”

    Nicola Brewer

    Dame Nicola Brewer

    Defiance

    Defiance or doing things in spite of obstacles was a refrain at the afternoon of ‘Inspiring Women, where several prominent women in academia took to the stage for a session of career reflection and inspiration

    Those obstacles ranged from having to give a lecture holding a baby, to homelessness: and the achievements were great.

    Dr Celia Caulcott UCL Vice-Provost (Enterprise) claimed that she is 10 years behind her male peers. “That’s the 10 years I took out for my family. I’m so glad I did.”  She also wrote the paper for doubling the funding for the human genome project, and as the Executive Director, Innovation and Skills at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, she changed part of the system of innovation and discovery in the UK.

    “I’m telling you this in a light-hearted way,” said Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, telling us how she made her way up from homelessness, divorce, and trying to do a PhD as a single mum with three children.

    “But I did spend a lot of time quietly weeping while the children were in bed.” When rejected for housing benefit, she consulted the law statute books, found out the council were wrong, and kept a roof over her head. She is now UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (Africa and the Middle East). Read the rest of this entry »

    Lunch Hour Lecture: Ovarian cancer screening — the long journey

    By Ella Richards, on 15 March 2016

    Will effective screening for ovarian cancer, one of the most common cancers affecting women, ever become a reality?

    A group of researchers started to reach for this goal more than 30 years ago. As Professor Usha Menon (UCL Institute for Women’s Health) explained in her Lunch Hour Lecture, determining a method of diagnosing early stage ovarian cancer is almost in touching distance.

    What is ovarian cancer?

    Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and it is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women in Europe.

    Unfortunately most ovarian cancer patients do not have clear symptoms in the early stages of the disease, meaning that 55% of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed in stage III or IV, when the cancer is harder to treat.

    Moreover, there is a 90% survival rate when ovarian cancer is diagnosed at stage I, however only a 5% to 20% survival rate for five years when diagnosed at stage III or IV. Read the rest of this entry »