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Young Pharmas

last modified Mar 31, 2015 10:15 AM
Friday March 20th saw the first round of our Young Pharmas’ programme come to its conclusion with a reception for the students with their guests and teachers...

Friday March 20th saw the first round of our Young Pharmas’ programme come to its conclusion with a reception for the students with their guests and teachers. The programme, with support from Cairn and the WellcomeTrust, was organized by staff from the labs of Prof Colin Taylor and Drs Laura Itzhaki and Ewan Smith working closely with the heads of biology at Hills Road, Netherhall and Long Road Sixth Form Colleges. The scheme aims to provide practical insight into pharmacology and experimental design. Twelve sixth-form students joined the programme in January and working in small groups during two evening practical sessions, they explored the need for reliable measurements in pharmacology and then counted the number of proteins in a cell. An all-day session on Saturday March 7th provided opportunities to use muscle preparations to determine which receptors mediate contraction, and to ask why does adrenaline make the heart beat faster? Demonstrations showed how state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy can reveal the structure of muscle and identify proteins and calcium signals within single cells. The programme concluded with a reception, at which students presented a poster on which they were questioned by their guests and teachers. Questions from our guest speaker, Prof. Sir Michael Berridge FRS, who discovered one of the most important messengers that regulates muscle contraction, provided students with some challenging questions! After showing their guests how to use fluorescence microscopy, the students joined guests and staff for an enlightening and insightful lecture from Prof. Berridge on how patterns of calcium spikes in the brain are used to generate memories, the importance of sleep in consolidating memories, and how these processes may go wrong as dementias develop. Prof. Berridge then presented students with their certificates along with some constructive advice on their posters.

The Department of Pharmacology looks forward to welcoming next year’s Young Pharmas.

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