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Departmental Young Pharmas’ programme

last modified Apr 13, 2016 10:16 AM
Tuesday March 15th saw the second running of the Departmental Young Pharmas’ programme come to its conclusion with a reception for the students with their guests and teachers...

Tuesday March 15th saw the second running of the Departmental Young Pharmas’ programme come to its conclusion with a reception for the students with their guests and teachers. The programme was organised by Dr Emily Taylor, Dr Ewan Smith and Prof Colin Taylor, with assistance from members of their labs and Dr Laura Itzhaki’s lab. We were most grateful for financial support from the Cairn and the Wellcome Trust.

The scheme aims to provide practical insight into pharmacology, experimental design and advice on what it is like to study biological subjects at university. 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 5th provided more challenging experiments with opportunities to use muscle preparations to determine which receptors mediate contraction, and to ask why does adrenaline make the heart beat faster? Throughout the course, 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. After showing their guests how to use fluorescence microscopy, the students joined guests and staff for an entertaining and informative lecture from Dr Matthew Harper entitled Headaches and heartaches: the secret life of a wonder drug. Dr Harper’s talk presented the history of aspirin, a drug that is commonly used to treat pain and inflammation, as well as to help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

After discussion amongst the judges, Sydney Devine from Long Road Sixth Form College was awarded the prize for best poster by Dr Harper who also presented students with certificates for having completed the course.

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

 

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