Tagged: biomedical

The Great Balancing Act

Hey all,

I haven’t blogged for quite a while and simply it’s because I have so many other commitments at the moment, which have been very fun but equally as tiring.

Over the summer period, I have been doing many outreach events in and around Bristol such as Pint of Science, @Bristol events and aiding my supervisor in her radio interviews. I really enjoy the engagement, as you have probably gathered, with many individuals which can be both challenging and keeps you think on your feet.

Another commitment I have taken up is the management of an SLA (sterolithography) 3D printer, Formlabs Form 2 printer. The 3D printer is fantastic for microfluidic but owning a 3D printer means accepting odd and interesting 3D printing jobs, many jobs aimed at props for outreach. However, having a printer that can print all sorts of things doesn’t necessarily mean it should due to the costs involved using resins where the cheaper FDM (Fused deposition modeling) would be more appropriate. Additionally the failed prints can eat up a lot of time which could be better spent on research. Please check my twitter for some of the 3D prints I have done!

Also, we had a big lab move from Engineering and Physics labs to the new Synbio lab, Biocompute Lab in the Life Science Building. This is currently in progress but hopefully will be ready by the beginning of October which I am very excited about! Also, the 3D printer is already located in the lab so it’ll be fantastic to have everything under one roof which saves me from running around between all the departments I work in.

Finally, I have my research still ongoing (last but not least!). Unfortunately it is not progressing as fast as I would like and sometimes feels over-shadowed by all the other commitments lately. However, I have the methodology in place and a systematic plan of different reagents to attempt which is now a tick-box list until I have the desired test environment in my diffusive microfluidic device.

As always, thanks for reading!


PhD Update – 23 Months

Funded by EPSRC at the University of Bristol; Associated with Bristol Robotics Lab, University of the West of England.

One Uni Year Later

I have found it very strange coming to the realisation that it has almost been one university year and it makes me think about to my experiences of undergraduate study with all the modules and hard work and how it now compares to doing full-time research.

At first glance it does not seem that I have accomplished much during what feels like a short time since I have graduated. Although, looking at all of the experiences and skills I have learnt in these past few months I can’t help but be amazed that I now have skills using and preparing microfluidic devices, MatLab for several image analysis techniques, coding Kilobots as well as the use of simulation software for these various techniques.

A lot of these skills I wouldn’t have imagined learning or using such a wide variety of programs since a lot of the data I had previous collected is displayed in chronological data points with varying values. With these values, a lot of the data can be displayed in a graph using Excel. Given what the data I am trying to display requires density/intensity histogram maps, using excel to run these tasks may be out of reach or difficult to achieve so learning how to use MatLab has saved time and increased my productivity.

Although learning skills and improving methodology is important, I feel a greater skill I have learnt over this time is the people who you meet, teach and collaborate with to reach a shared goal. With greater communications now more than ever, I feel these connections where ever and who ever can only be a great benefit and this PhD has given me the best opportunity to meet these researchers and to talk at the same level, the same language. As well as learning these different skills, I feel I can communicate across engineering to biomedical sciences understanding the benefits and limitations of each process such as the simulation compared to the In Vitro and In Vivo studies.


 

PhD Update – 10 months.

Funded by EPSRC at the University of Bristol; Associated with Bristol Robotics Lab, University of the West of England.

RE: Upcoming events

I recently stated in “Upcoming events” I would return and post media accompanying the event and after a long delay here is my update.

First was the radio interview where I appeared live on BBC Radio Lincolnshire with Yasmin interviewed by Leigh Milner as tweeted here. Speaking on the radio was a great experience as well as nerve-racking one which I definitely would do again given the chance. The offline broadcast can be listened via Youtube using the embedded video below:

Regards to David Barnett for uploading the interview on my behalf.

Secondly in the Upcoming events post, I mentioned about the University of Lincoln Life Sciences conference where I presented the research I carried out during my final year dissertation project. I really enjoyed the conference and it was a good opportunity to look at fellow students projects as well as present my own project. I have attached an image of myself and the poster taken after the conference below:

University of Lincoln LifeSciences Conference PosterRegarding the exams, I receive the results very soon and I hope to push for the highest grade possible supported by my current results from this final year.

3rd Year – Dissertation Project

It has been a while since I have updated due to various time commitments of being a third year student from various core modules to the third year dissertation project.

Currently, there are only a few weeks left till the dissertation deadline but I am looking forward to producing my first, hopefully of many, publications using research I have carried out. The dissertation project I am focused on involves neurotensin receptors 1 (NTS1) being over expressed in breast cancer cells. A paper by Vandebulcke et al. (2000) has shown the uptake of neurotensin-GFP fusion into COS-7 breast cancer cells which allows the way for possible targeted drug delivery applications. My project is focusing on the cloning of neurotensin-double GFP fusions using PCR techniques to test the size of the endocytosis uptake by the NTS1 GPCR receptors expressed on COS-7 cells. My supervisor for this project is Dr. Alan Goddard.

Neurotensin receptors are expressed naturally on other tissues mainly in the central nervous system (CNS) shown by Uhl et al. (1977) in rat central nervous system. Targeting and administration of these neurotensin-drug fusions should not enter the CNS due to various efflux receptors, most commonly noted in the blood brain barrier, so theoretically neurotensin offers a unique target for drug delivery. An interesting fusion could be the use of interferon (IFN) alpha with the ability to act as an anti-viral agents which inhibits replication and has shown promise in current cancer treatment (Ferrantini et al., 2007; Zaidi and Merlino, 2011). Due to IFN-alpha protein structure, fusions with neurotensin may be a possible payload to delivery to COS-7 cells.

I am presenting my work via poster at the ‘University of Lincoln Undergraduate Life Sciences Conference 2014’, dates: TBA expected early June. I will post an update when more information becomes available.

References

Ferrantini, M., Capone, I., and Belardelli, F. (2007) Interferon-alpha and cancer: mechanisms of action and new perspectives of clinical use. Biochimie, 89(6-7), pp. 884-893.

Uhl, G.R.; Kuhar, M.J.; Snyder, S.H. (1977) Neurotensin: immunohistochemical localization in rat central nervous system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 74(9), pp. 4059-4063.

Vandenbulcke, F., Nouel, D., Vincent, J.P., Mazella, J., and Beaudet, A. (2000) Ligand-induced internalization of neurotensin in transfected COS-7 cells: differential intracellular trafficking of ligand and receptor. Journal of Cell Science, 113 ( Pt 17)(Pt 17), pp. 2963-2975.

Zaidi, M.R. and Merlino, G. (2011) The two faces of interferon-gamma in cancer. Clinical Cancer Research : An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 17(19), pp. 6118-6124.

A bit about myself

Hello, I am a 2nd year student currently at the University of Lincoln studying BSc Biomedical Science (Hons). My passion is to enter nanomedicine hence the title of the blog and this is going to be a blog about my experiences from the highs and lows as I hopefully reach my goal of becoming a nanomedic or at the very least entering the nanomedicine field.

Currently my aim is to graduate and enter a PhD in nanoscience, specifically nanomedicine, within the UK.