Students present at national conference

Three undergraduate students were chosen to present academic posters at this year’s Biomedical Science Congress.

Barnaby Meek, Stephen Wade and James Smith, from the University of Lincoln, UK, were among a small number of Biomedical Science students picked to take part in the Institute of Biomedical Science’s (IBMS) three-day conference.

The aim of the event, which took place at Birmingham’s ICC at the end of September, is to advance excellence in this area of science which focusses on finding new ways to cure or treat disease by developing advanced diagnostic tools or new therapeutic strategies.

Barnaby and Stephen’s poster presentation was a review of a specific therapy used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Poster of work

Barnaby, who aims to work in a major pharmaceutical company on completion of his degree, said: “The inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is regulated by the immune system. Cytokines are molecules that send chemical messages to cells in the body; such as white blood cells that are capable of mediating inflammation. My poster looks at anti-cytokine therapy, which blocks the messages that create this inflammation. Because the immune system is very individual not every therapy is going to work for each individual. This research is looking to refine this type of treatment.”

He added: “This was a great opportunity to present in front of the biomedical community and it was great to see cutting-edge research presented over the three days – a lot of which is likely to be implemented in future years.”

Stephen’s second presentation with James Smith looked at the production of blood products for use in non-emergency transfusions.

IBMS

Stephen, who would like to go on to do a PhD, said: “Scientists are looking to create blood from stem cells in order to combat issues of cost, supply and side effects suffered by people who require regular transfusions. For example, thalassemias are a group of inherited blood disorders caused by problems in the production of haemoglobin. Patients require regular transfusions but there are complications such as increased iron intake which causes pain and necessitates further treatment. By creating lab-grown blood that can be adapted to fit certain medical conditions, it could combat these complications while also reducing costs and ensuring a consistent supply.”

James added:  “Cultured blood products would remove any chance of unknown and unintentional infection, immune reaction and the chance of mismatch as well as allowing a highly personalised transfusion matching the donors own blood systems.”