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Student stories - bioscience destinations and beyond!

18 November 2015

Bioscience Destinations 2015_main
L-r: Stefanie Wilson, Kamaluddeen Kabir, Helen McMorris, Magda Siwek, Luis Tomas, Konstantina Tsikrika, Vlad Stojanovic and Jack Gibson. 

The annual student-led Bioscience Destinations event recently took place here at Abertay.

Organised this year by one of our PhD students – Stefanie Wilson – the event showcased posters from both our undergraduate and postgraduate scientists, detailing the amazing research that’s taking place at the university.

Here, Stefanie tells us more about the day and how you can get involved next year.

Why did you hold Bioscience Destinations?

“Posters are used at real academic conferences, so they’re important if you go on to have a career as a researcher. They’re a great way to summarise your work in a quick and visually appealing way, and can be used as a jumping off point for networking and collaboration.

“They also allow you to display and talk about your research in a way that is accessible to everyone – even those not from your particular area. Being able to explain your work to someone from any walk of life is an important skill as a researcher, so part of the purpose behind our event was to give students more experience of doing this.

“We also wanted it to be a chance for people to showcase their work in a relaxed environment because, as a student, there are several situations where you have to produce academic posters and these are always quite stressful because you’re being assessed.”

Who took part?

“At the event the majority of our participants were postgraduates, but it was open to all students. I would love to see more undergraduates getting involved next year, as it would be a great way of practicing for the end of 4th year Honours poster presentation and would give them an idea of how poster events are structured.

“It would also be a fantastic way of displaying all the hard work they’ve carried out on summer internships here at the university, or NHS work placements, and would give them the opportunity to find out more about the research that’s taking place here and might inspire them to undertake a postgrad.

“So I hope that the next one will have an even spread between undergraduates and postgraduates and maybe students from a wider range of disciplines whose research connects back to science.

“To name a few of those who took part this year, there was Helen McMorris who showed her research looking at the visualisation of latent fingerprints on feathers and eggs from birds of prey; Jack Gibson, who is working with tadpoles and investigating the effect of an endocannabinoid system on modulating locomotion; Konstantina Tsikrika, who is investigating the effect of ultrasound technology on food enzymes; Luis Tomas, who is producing 4D imaging methods to help quantify soil structure dynamics; and Magda Siwek, who was the winner of the best poster, and is an Erasmus student looking at the anticancer influence of a recently discovered biosurfactant.”

What is your own specific area of research?

“My background is as a biologist and I completed my undergraduate project looking at ovarian cancer with my now PhD supervisor Dr Yusuf Deeni.

“The majority of drug testing for cancer is carried out using cells that have been isolated from a tumour that will divide indefinitely. These are grown as a group of cells in a lab, known as a monolayer (2D) culture. However, cancer cells can also be cultured in 3D, for example, as spheroids.

“My PhD is looking at bridging the gap between 2D and 3D cancer cell cultures. I will be collecting a vast range of data using both 2D and 3D cultures after they have been treated with an anti-cancer drug. The data will be analysed statistically to find out if there is any link between the way that the 2D and 3D cultures react to the drugs. These correlations will be used to produce a statistical model where data collected from a 2D culture can be put in, and a prediction of how the same drug and cell line will respond when grown in 3D will be calculated.”

How can people get involved next year?

“Just join the Abertay Bioscience Society Facebook group! The ABS is an academic society that focuses on fostering a community of science orientated individuals. We hold a variety of different events throughout the year ranging from social events in the union, to academic events such as seminars from visiting speakers, as well as the Bioscience Destinations poster event.

“The society is open to everyone, not just those on science courses, as we want to provide a space for those who have a keen interest in science as well.”

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