X Close

Events

Home

UCL events news and reviews

Menu

UCL Ageing event

GuestBlogger15 November 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Dr Emma Chambers, Research Associate in the Division of Infection and Immunity

 The United Kingdom has an ageing population and by 2025, one in four people will be over the age of 65. Unfortunately with increasing age there is not increasing ‘healthspan’, and actually people are now living unhealthy for longer.

With increasing age come increasing health problems, as people over the age of 65 have an increased risk of infections such as flu and shingles, as well as an increased risk of having dementia; this collectively places a huge burden on our already stretched NHS.

At the UCL Ageing Event – cultivating research connections across the university, arranged by the UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Domain and held on Thursday 3 November 2016, researchers from across UCL came together to discuss what we can do to age better.

Attendees heard first from Dr Jenny Regan (Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment) who works on the common fruit fly. Apparently, the fruit fly ages similarly to humans, with decreased mobility, increased infections and memory loss.

Dr Regan told us that the key to a longer life is to be female – a bit unfortunate for half of the population! Secondly, you need to have a calorie restricted diet, though this does not enhance the lifespan of a male fruit fly.

Dr Milica Vukmanovic-Stejic (Division of Infection and Immunity) introduced us to her human skin model where the lab studies white blood cells (immune system) in the skin of old and young people to establish if there are any differences that can explain why older people are more at risk of shingles. (more…)

Reconstructing Broken Bodies: From Industrial Warfare to Industrial Engineered Tissues

Sophie EPleterski5 July 2014

An illuminating and occasionally gruesome lecture for a non-medic unused to the visual realities of war, the third of the series UCL Lunch Hour Lectures on Tour marking the centenary of the First World War tackled a rarely discussed aspect of the aftermath of trench warfare.

Tonk's, Portrait of a Wounded Soldier Before Treatment Credit: UCL Art Museum

Henry Tonks, Portrait of a Wounded
Soldier Before Treatment

Credit: UCL Art Museum

The idea of the fabrication of living tissues to repair injuries is well publicised in the media today, from growing an ear on the back of a mouse, to full face transplants.

However, the development of reconstructive techniques was largely precipitated by the industrial scale of conflict in WW1.

Sadly, Professor Robert Brown (UCL Surgical Science) was unable to attend, so we were left in the capable hands of Colin Hopper (UCL Eastman Dental Institute) who delivered both the historical and medical sides of the lecture with distinctive candour.

Early medical advances

I was unconvinced that a GCSE in Biology would get me through the finer points of tissue fabrication, so it was a relief that we began with the historical context of medical advances during military conflicts since the early 1800s.

The fact that disease was responsible for a large number of deaths during the wars between 1804-15 was hardly a surprise, but the scale of the death–nearly 266,000 of the 311,806 deaths (85%) in the Army and Navy–showed just how much of an impact developments in medicine made to survival rates in future conflicts.

Changes in strategy and weaponry in WW1 caused a significant increase in the number of soldiers who sustained head and limb injuries, yet over 92% of wounded British soldiers evacuated to British medical camps survived. Some fairly horrific slides of facial injuries from more recent Iraqi and Libyan conflicts demonstrated the consequences of the types of weaponry used a hundred years earlier. Major General Henry Shrapnel has a lot to answer for.

As a head and neck surgeon, Colin was interested to know how much the audience thought a person needed of their face to survive. Drawing a line running from the top of the head and behind the ears with his hand, he revealed that anything below that line is an “optional extra”–who needs frontal lobes?

(more…)

UCL 2013 Prize Lecture in Clinical Science with Professor Gary Rukvun

newseditor6 November 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Lucy Bell, UCL MBPhD student

gary-ruvkun-2

Professor Gary Ruvkun

The UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science, held this year on 30 October,  is one of the university’s most exciting events – the annual invitation of one of the world’s most distinguished scientists to receive an award and speak about their career and research to a UCL audience.

This year’s recipient was Professor Gary Rukvun of Harvard Medical School, whose pioneering work in the discovery of microRNAs – small RNA species with potent regulatory effects – has arguably changed the accepted paradigm of cellular function over the past 20 years, showing that the functional products of genes are not always proteins.

It has also paved the way for a brave new world in genetic research, in which the functions of genes can be rapidly deleted and reconstituted; a level of manipulation unprecedented in molecular biology.

After an undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Berkeley, California, and several years of travelling and tree-planting across the Americas, Professor Rukvun embarked on doctoral training in genetics at Harvard that would eventually bring him to his research into the tiny roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

(more…)

Infection, immunology and inflammation research on show at annual Symposium

newseditor23 October 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Andy Kumar (MRes Biomedicine 2012-13 ,UCL Institute of Child Health)

Symposium

The Symposium audience

There is no doubt about it. Medical research has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Much of this is down to the vast amount of research being conducted worldwide, with both scientists and doctors working tirelessly to discover novel treatments for a vast array of medical conditions.

The annual Infection, Immunology and Inflammation Symposium held at the UCL Institute of Child Health showcased the research of a number of passionate UCL academics and its partners. With an almost fully packed auditorium, there was a real buzz among the attendees.

Cutting edge research
The morning session on infection contained some excellent presentations on microbial genome  sequencing of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the effects of antibiotic resistance upon the population delivered by Professor Sharon Peacock, as well as the genes involved in the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Dr Kristine Arnvig.

(more…)