Interdisciplinary Science Research Lectures

The lectures are public and free but registration is required.  If you are interested in attending our next lecture please email us.

The Interdisciplinary Science Guest Research Lectures aims to provide lectures accessible to undergraduates (and hence to other non-experts) to raise awareness of current interdisciplinary research topics.

Guest researchers from various scientific backgrounds are invited to present their most recent research developments.

In addition to engaging students with current research themes in interdisciplinary science, the lectures provide an opportunity to meet researchers outside the module curriculum context.

Petra and students

Previous Research Lectures:

Dr Matthew C.  Forman (Premaitha Health)

23rd Feb. 2017 (5pm)

Next-Generation Sequencing & Bioinformatics: Building Clinical Applications

In recent years, advances in human genome understanding, laboratory and analysis techniques have made possible the transition of a number of novel medical applications from the research to the clinical laboratory; in many cases, these new methods offer improved accuracy or reduced risks to the patient compared with existing test procedures.

A significant enabler has been the large-scale improvements in throughput, practicality and usability resulting from the commercial availability of so-called Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques.

Closely coupled with this is the development and refinement of bioinformatics analysis methods capable of working with the large volume of sequencing data that these instruments generate, to produce results in a timely manner.

Dr Matthew C. Forman's Lecture Flyer

More information about Dr Matthew C. Forman's lecture

John MclauchlanDr John McLauchlan (Glasgow University)

17th Nov. 2016 (5pm)

Hepatitis C Virus: A paradigm of modern day biomedical research

Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global problem with approximately 3% of the world population carrying the virus. Spread of the virus occurred to a large extent following the Second World War but the virus was not formally identified until 1989.

The path from the discovery of HCV to subsequent developments that have now led to new drugs which cure infection in most of those who are infected is a fascinating story, almost unique in virology. It has involved interaction between individuals and groups with interdisciplinary skills outside of those trained in virology.

The aim of the lecture will be to describe how this range of expertise has transformed the field of research into HCV such that there is now hope that, within a few decades of its discovery, the virus will be less of a public health threat.

Dr John McLauchlan's lecture flyer

More information about Dr John McLauchlan's lecture

Helen Willcock

Dr Helen Willcock (Loughborough University)

25th Feb. 2016 (5pm)

Towards new bio-applications of responsive polymers

In this presentation, the synthesis of polymers by CRP and the assembly of higher order structures in solution will be demonstrated.

Specifically, two examples of the synthesis of zwitterionic polymers that exhibit a temperature response by Reversible Addition Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerisation (Fig. 2) will be discussed.

As these polymers are bio and haemocompatible and show very low levels of protein fouling, it is envisaged that these biocompatible, responsive polymer particles could be used in areas such as delivery or reporting.

Dr Helen Willcock's lecture flyer

More information about Dr Helen Willcock's lecture

Dr Petra Cameron

Dr Petra Cameron (University of Bath) 19th Nov. 2015 (5pm)

Catalysis for Biological Fuel Cells

Microbial fuels cells (MFC) are devices that use bacteria to catalyse the break-down of organic matter to generate electrons and carbon dioxide.

Photo-microbial fuel cells (p-MFC) are related devices that contain photosynthetic organisms (algae or cyanobacteria) in the anodic chamber.  In p-MFC, light and essential trace elements are provided to the cells but it is not necessary to ‘feed’ them organic matter.

p-MFC can produce power both under illumination (when CO2 is being reduced) and in the dark when the cells respire.  Unlike the majority of MFC, p-MFC can operate in the presence of oxygen in the anode.

In this presentation MFC and p-MFC will be introduced and the role of catalysts in every part of the devices will be discussed.

Dr Petra Cameron's lecture flyer

More information about Dr Petra Cameron's lecture

Derek Charters (MIRA) on Feb. 26 2015 (5pm)

Energy vectors in the automotive industry

MIRA’s investigations over the past 20 years have attempted to filter out the possible solutions for our customers and assist in their development into safe and reliable forms of motive systems.

The viability of any solution will have to be eventually market led and that is decided by the consumer and their representative governments.

This lecture attempted to bring together these conflicting requirements and clarify the possible directions that the automotive industry will take.

Derek Charters lecture flyer

More information about Derek Charters' lecture

Zita Martins_profileDoctor Zita Martins (Imperial College London) on Nov. 20 2014 (5pm)

Astrobiology and the detection of life in our solar system

This talk discussed how the study of meteorites, asteroids, comets and Mars soil analogues are used to investigate the origin of life on Earth and how to detect any possible signatures of extra-terrestrial life in our solar system.

Doctor Zita Martins lecture flyer

More information about Doctor Zita Martins' lecture

jeremy ramsden imageProf Jeremy Ramsden (Buckingham

University) on Feb. 27 2014 (5pm)

Nanotechnology - the most interdisciplinary technology

Recently it has become fashionable to look beyond nanotechnology at the convergence of nano, information, bio and cognitive technologies---the NIBC quartet.  That would seem to require mastery of an even broader spectrum of traditional disciplines.

On the other hand, does the ``nano viewpoint" enable enormous conceptual economies?---just as the digital concept of information can be used to store and manipulate everything from pictures to music and text.

Is there a price to be paid for such economy of concepts, in terms of intellectual, material and spiritual impoverishment. Does it open up new and richer realms of thought?

Prof Jeremy Ramsden lecture flyer

More information about Prof Jeremy Ramsden's lecture

Kevin Parker PhotoDr Kevin Parker (KKI Associates) on Nov, 21 2013 (5pm)

Transistors, Mini-Skirts and Global Warming

This seminar looked at the opportunities that technology gives us to interact with and change the world.

As well as the three technologies implied in the title, I mention the CO2 output of buildings, the source of half the nitrogen in the human body, the safety record of Korean airlines, the impact of cotton clothing, and the correlation between linguistic and biological diversity.

Dr Kevin Parker lecture flyer

More information about Dr Kevin Parker's lecture

Prof Mathias Brust on Feb, 21 2013 (5pm)

Monolayer Protected Clusters of Gold: Building Blocks, Functional Materials, Macromolecules, Biomedical Tools and more

This lecture introduced Monolayer Protected Clusters (MPCs) in the context of the scientific climate of the 1990s and then reviewed from a personal point of view some highlights in gold nanoparticle chemistry that followed.

Unlike typical organic macromolecules, MPCs are capable of storing excess charge in their metallic core, which leads to unique electrochemical phenomena such as quantized capacitance charging.

Prof Brust gave examples of the use of biomolecularly functionalized MPCs to address specific biomedical problems including therapy of cancer.

He conclude by briefly reporting his most recent work at Liverpool on MPCs that overcome biological membrane boundaries, before presenting some future perspectives.

Prof Mathias Brust lecture flyer

More information about Prof Mathias Brust's lecture

Monica GradyProf Monica Grady on Nov, 22nd 2012 (5pm)

Tissint: The Latest Arrival from Mars

The Tissint meteorite fell in Morocco in July 2011. It is only the fifth witnessed fall of a Martian meteorite and has not been subject of much terrestial contamination.

Tissint is a type of Martian vulcanic rock known as Shergottite. By studying the minerals in this meteorite, and the gasses trapped inside them, information can be deduced about the environment of Mars in which Tissint was formed.

Prof Monica Grady lecture flyer

More information about Prof Monica Grady's lecture

Prof Alan Haywood on Feb, 23rd 2012

Can models simulate climates of the past?

In this talk Prof Haywood reviewed some examples of best and worst practice in joint studies that aim to examine past climate evolution and how well models are able to reproduce it.

This included examples from climate extremes such as the Last Glacial Maximum when the UK was largely buried under a major ice sheet, from the mid Cretaceous and mid Eocene thermal maximum when no ice was present at either pole.

Finally from the Pliocene epoch for which climate archives indicate a number of surprising parallels to model predictions of future climate.

Prof Alan Harwood lecture flyer

More information about Prof Alan Haywood's lecture

Dr Toby Jenkins.Dr Toby Jenkins on Nov, 24th 2011

A smart wound dressing concept for detecting and treating infection in paediatric burn wounds

There is frequent reference to ‘nanotechnology’ in the media, and many people, including Prince Charles, have an opinion on its merits – or otherwise.

Few people, however, seem to know exactly what nanotechnology is – including many scientists.

Still fewer have heard of ‘nano-biotechnology’: the applications of nanotechnology to biological systems. Toby discussed a potential clinical application of this technology.

Dr Toby Jenkins lecture flyer

More information about Dr Toby Jenkins' lecture

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