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Young Pharmas

last modified Mar 26, 2019 03:21 PM
Over the past three months, sixteen bright sixth formers from Netherhall, Long Road, Hills Road and Comberton have been busy carrying out scientific experiments and investigating key concepts in pharmacology...

Young Pharmas is an exciting annual outreach scheme headed by the labs of Prof. Colin Taylor and Dr. Ewan Smith, in which several hands-on practical sessions give students currently studying biology and chemistry the opportunity to experience what a career in science might be like, by highlighting the importance of making accurate scientific measurements and introducing modern techniques such as fluorescence microscopy.

During a day-long Pharmacology Masterclass, students were given an undergraduate-style lecture on the structure and function of muscle, and how diseases can be treated by targeting receptor proteins with drugs that influence tissue function. In small groups, students then got to tackle two practical experiments – an ileum preparation and a Langendorff heart preparation - which demonstrated the effects of various drugs on muscle tissue. These budding scientists weren’t afraid to ask some seriously insightful questions to the post-doctoral staff and PhD students from the department either!

A final presentation evening was held at Corpus Christi College where students had to present their findings in the form of a poster - congratulations to Ellen Chaplin from Hills Road for winning the prize for best poster! Prof. Alasdair Coles from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences then delivered an engaging talk about the trials and tribulations of getting the immunotherapy drug alemtuzumab, also known as Campath-1H, into the clinic to treat patients with multiple sclerosis and other immunological illnesses.

As well as aiding in the understanding of current A level subjects, the aim of Young Pharmas is to get students thinking about science in a wider context beyond the classroom, and give a taster of what life as a University of Cambridge student might be like. Hopefully the department will see some of these Young Pharmas return for their university studies in the future!

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