Making Life Better: Specialist Study Day


LIYSF’s ‘Making Life Better’ Specialist Study day gave our participants an opportunity to closely interact with specialist lecturers and were separated into groups of their interests to spend several hours with a renowned scientist to learn about their field of research.

The day commenced with a keynote delivered to all the participants by Professor Sir Roy Anderson on the topic of epidemiology and infectious disease. Professor Anderson commented on the interdisciplinary nature of tackling infectious disease:

“[Epidemiology] is a rapidly moving field, and a very interdisciplinary area of science. In our research group at Imperial we have physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, physicians, biologists and so on, and they work in teams to address these problems of first identifying and then controlling infections.”

LIYSF comprises of thriving cultural diversity and scientific backgrounds and is perhaps the perfect place to point out the problems that we face as humanity which will require interdisciplinary collaboration.

After Professor Anderson’s lecture the students disbanded into the following specialized groups:

  • Professor Sir Roy Anderson. Viruses and Bacteria.
  • Dr. Anna Barnard – Imperial College London. Targeting Protein-Protein Interactions for Drug Discovery
  • Dr. Nikolay Kornienko – University of Cambridge. Renewable Energy to Chemical Fuels
  • Dr. Keith Mathieson – University of Strathclyde. An Optoelectronic Retinal Prosthesis for Restoring Vision to the Blind
  • Professor Jonathan Green – University of Manchester. Improving the Outcome for Autism Worldwide
  • Dr. Matthew Dunstan – University of Cambridge. From Data to Device: Sustainable Materials Design for the Future
  • Professor Marcus Rattray – University of Bradford. Making Medicines in the Modern Age
  • Dr. Seth Zenz – CERN and Imperial College London. Individual Ideas Working Together: The Discovery of the Higgs Boson  

The ability to take something abstract and complicated in science, and break it down in a way that is easy to digest and be understood by various audiences, is an invaluable skill that is emphasized and developed here at LIYSF. After listening to their specialist lecture, the student groups spent the next two hours putting together a 6 minute presentation to creatively explain their lecturer’s research to the rest of the participants.

We asked a collection of students what they enjoyed the most from this session and the opportunities given to them of working together :

“Activities like this are great because you get to see many different ways of thinking from different cultures and countries. They all mesh together into something amazing.” – Salome Brunon. Norway

“I learned that we can delay [Alzheimer’s], but we can’t cure it. There have been some trials that have actually even made it worse – that was a cautionary and interesting lesson to learn.” – Francisco Santos. Portugal

The scientists themselves were also impressed and inspired by their energy:

“The different talents and cultures combined with the peer mentoring and mixing of different age groups makes this forum very special. Everybody seems so excited to get involved; it’s very inspiring.” – Professor Marcus Rattray. University of Bradford

The students inspired LIYSF with their presentations, innovation and energy (as they did at our Science Bazaar) and their performances were incredibly informing and entertaining. It’s comforting to know that the future is in good hands with our young scientists determined and passionate about Making Life Better!

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