My name is Alex Trafford and I am a second year Epidemiology
PhD student in the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry. I have quite a diverse
academic background for somebody in my field, being unsure of which subjects I
enjoyed most at school and splitting my A-levels between the sciences and
humanities. I eventually decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in
geography, with two years at Lancaster University and one year abroad at the
University of North Carolina. In my final undergraduate year I took part in a
module looking at health geographies - during this time I came across the field
of epidemiology, which combined aspects of science and humanities, and decided
that this was the direction I wanted to go in. In order to learn more about the
field, I completed a master’s degree in Demography and Health at the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2017.
In late 2017, I received funding from the Global Psoriasis
Atlas and started my PhD in Epidemiology at Manchester. My project here
involves using huge datasets to understand how having psoriasis might make
somebody more or less likely to get cancer.
Although epidemiology is not a field that is as well-known
as others, like maths or chemistry, its results are often very well publicised
and can shape how many people live their lives. The first epidemiological study
was conducted in London by John Snow (not the one from Game of Thrones), who
used a map of cases of ill health and interviews with local people to identify
a contaminated water pump that was spreading cholera. Since this first study,
epidemiology has been developed and used in a lot of different ways to improve
health – from proving that smoking can be extremely bad for your health to
recognising the role of mosquitos in the spread of yellow fever. Though more
traditional methods are still used to quantify disease and its distribution - for
example, in recent Ebola outbreaks - epidemiology has also evolved to use big
data and more complex techniques, such as machine learning.
In my research, I will be using big data to understand how
having psoriasis may influence the risk of developing cancer. Although
psoriasis presents as a condition of the skin, it involves chronic, systemic
inflammation and this has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in other
conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease. However, attributing an altered
risk of developing cancer to the inflammation involved in psoriasis is
challenging due to the presence of other lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking.
As it has been demonstrated that smoking is more common in people with
psoriasis, it is challenging to say whether people with psoriasis develop cancer
more often because of their psoriasis or because they are more likely to smoke
– this is a concept known as confounding in epidemiology.
To try to understand whether people with psoriasis do
develop cancer more, and whether it’s likely to be a result of their psoriasis
or other lifestyle behaviours, I am analysing health data recorded by GPs and
Hospitals in England. By following anonymous people with and without psoriasis
through their health records, it is possible to compare the number of cancer
diagnoses in each group. Having data for behaviours such as smoking then allows
me to understand how these factors might be influencing any risk.
Gaining an understanding of whether people with psoriasis do
develop cancer more, and what might be causing this, is vital for the current
care of people with psoriasis and may also guide important future immunological
research into the topic.
To learn more about John Snow’s first epidemiological study
To learn more about epidemiology –
To learn more about psoriasis –
Population health at the University of Manchester –
My name is Josefina Fabiani and I
am a second year PhD student in Economics. I come from Argentina, South
America, which may sound more familiar to those not that much into geography if
I refer to it as the land of beef – specially asados – tango, Patagonia, football and of course Messi and Kun Agüero
(not to get into politics and economics!). During my undergrad there I did a
semester abroad in Austria, which completely influenced my future decisions.
That experience opened my mind and made me realise I wanted to pursue further
studies abroad. The UK wasn’t a tough decision for me since the quality of its
higher education institutions is well known and I’ve always been very keen on the
English language, the country’s history and culture (and its music!).
So here I am, starting my PhD in
Economics in Manchester, where I will analyse the relationship between
migration and different types of capital flows between countries.
The first year of the PhD was the MSc
Economics, where we covered the main areas of the subject and received training
on the techniques I will apply now on the research. In this second year, we
continue with the coursework but now focused on our research area and at an
advanced level. For example, my area is Macroeconomics, where we look at the
economy as a whole with information on different measures such as GDP,
inflation and unemployment.
A phenomenon that has always
interested me was the migration of people from one country to another, maybe
because I come from a country with a very large population of immigrants. Early
on my undergrad studies I started digging into the topic.
Throughout history, migrations have
taken place at different levels, for different reasons: regional migrations,
overseas migrations, forced (by political persecution or natural disasters) or
voluntary, expecting an economic or life improvement. In the era of
globalization and communication, transportation costs have remarkably dropped,
which fostered not only the flow of goods and knowledge across countries but
also of people. However, whereas there is an apparent consensus to enhance
international trade and capital flows, the economic consequences of immigration
are at the centre of political debate. Migration policy has been characterized
by protection of the domestic labour market and there has been an increasing
negative popular perception of immigration. A better understanding of the
dynamics of migration and its macroeconomic implications are key for policy
If you are curious to know a little
bit more about what economists really do, then you are invited to take part on
the activities organised at the Economics Department for school students. Some
of them are:
Manchester Talk – IFS
"Is it fair to charge £9,250 for university tuition fees?"
13 March 2019, 4-6pm, Uni Place Theatre A
How much will you really pay for university?
Does that depend on where and what you study? Are there any alternative ways to
fund higher education? And how would these affect what the education system
should be trying to achieve?
This IFS Public Talk, jointly organised with the
University of Manchester, will be given by Jack Britton, Senior Research Economist at
the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)
and will give an economist's perspective on the ongoing tuition fee
debate. Nicholas Barr, Professor of
Public Economics, from the London School of Economics and Political Science
(LSE) will also be our Chair and on hand to put your questions to Jack.
Get an insight on Higher Education resources from the
Details and free tickets can be booked here: https://manchester-talk-ifs.eventbrite.co.uk
There is a pre-session aimed at
Year 12/13 students that fulfil the Widening Participation criteria
). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information and registration.
Discover Economics Day
9 July 2019, 9.30am-3.30pm, Simon 1.34
The Discover Economics Day is a
free event for Year 12 students to discover more about what economics is really
The day will consist of a series of
interactive, educational sessions to help you find out what economists do as
you start to learn the tools that they use to ask real world questions. You
will discover how economics provides a clear way of thinking on how people make
You will meet University staff and
students dealing with the current issues in economics and will find out more about
the economics courses here at Manchester and the career opportunities available
for Economics graduates.
Join us and discover how studying
economics will give you the toolkit to investigate the questions that you are
Please email us at email@example.com
for further info and registrations.
• http://freakonomics.com (also radio!)
YouTube Channels and Videos:
• Jacob Clifford
• One Minute Economics
• Ted Ed
You can find more of Economics at UoM here https://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/economics/
and keep updated with the activities organized via twitter https://twitter.com/ManUniEconomics
Hey, I’m Stevie, a first year PhD
student in English and American Studies at the University of Manchester, and I
study comics! More specifically, I study George Herriman’s Krazy Kat (1913-1944), an American comic strip that loosely follows the daily lives of
Krazy Kat, Ignatz Mouse (with whom Krazy is in love) and Offissa Pupp (who is
in love with Krazy!) as they unfold against the fantastical desertscape of
‘Coconino County’. Krazy wasn’t very
popular among most readers, but it drew praise from artists, writers, and
intellectuals, including the poet e. e. cummings, the critic Gilbert Seldes,
and, purportedly, Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein, among
others! As a result, a number of scholars have linked Krazy to the field of modernism, an early twentieth century art
movement that sought to respond to the rapidly-changing modern world. My work
focuses on deeply contextualising the strip’s production, content, distribution,
and reception to ask where, in the vast field of American modernist production
and culture, it is most usefully historicised.
Deciding what to study at
university was tricky because I was torn between English literature, sociology,
and creative writing. Ultimately, I chose the BA American Literature with
Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, which gave me quite a lot of
freedom with choosing modules and meant I could combine interdisciplinary
American Studies classes with writing workshops. It also gave me the opportunity
to spend a year at Occidental College in Los Angeles, where I encountered my
first Krazy strip through a brilliant
class on comics and graphic literature. In final year, I wrote my dissertation
on Krazy and took a fantastic body
culture studies module - both left me knowing I wanted to study further, but I
spent a few years working to save money and to decide exactly what course I
wanted to do – more American studies, something more focused, something to do
with my work in education? In September 2017, I joined the MA Gender, Sexuality
and Culture at the University of Manchester, a course that indulged my interest
in gender and body studies from a philosophical/conceptual perspective, but
also let me choose a range of modules from postcolonial literature to
transnational radical subcultures. Knowing I wasn’t through with Krazy Kat, I also took a class on
modernist studies to help me prepare a PhD proposal, and used my MA
dissertation on frontier manhood in ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’ to hone skills
and touch on areas of knowledge that I’ll use going forwards: using digital
archives and special collections, and learning more about transatlantic
entertainment and the cultural meanings of the American West. For me, the most
enjoyable thing about the PhD is having the time and freedom to follow my
curiosity, which has taken me through digital archives of 1920s Vanity Fair magazines, over 100-year-old
maps of Arizona, and into poetry, short stories, art, and comics I’ve never
encountered before. There is a huge amount of fascinating work going on in both
comics studies and modernist studies that is seeking to draw attention to the
myriad things we can learn about history through popular culture; I hope that
my work can play a small part in bringing these exciting fields into
conversation with one another. In the meantime, what an honour to read and
write about Krazy for work!
Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is an educational
and entertaining introduction to the history and grammar of comics...written as
If you want to know more about
George Herriman, Krazy Kat, or the
American newspaper comic industry in the early c20, check out Michael
Tisserand’s brilliant biography Krazy: A
Life in Black and White.
Grid and ImageTexT are online,
open-access journals of comics studies.
Modernist Review is the British Association for Modernist Studies’ (BAMS,
for short!) postgraduate blog, featuring wide-ranging articles written in an
The John Rylands Library has a Special Collections blog
where you can read more about the research the collections are being used for.
I’ve linked below to the main blog, and to a post I wrote about using their
‘Buffalo Bill Scrapbook’ for my MA dissertation.
name is Chloe and I’m a second year PhD student, funded by the Wellcome Trust, in
Bioethics and Medical Law at the University of Manchester. I finished my A
Levels in Physics, Biology and Chemistry in 2011, but having decided science
wasn’t for me I took a gap year to think about what I wanted to do next. During
my time off I decided to go in a completely different direction and applied to
the University of Manchester to study Law. I started my degree in 2012 and I
loved it! I was still interested in some of the ethical issues surrounding
science and so during my degree I took modules in Medical Law and Mental Health
Law and I wrote my dissertation about Caesarean Sections.
my undergraduate degree I received a scholarship from Manchester to take my Masters in
Healthcare Law and Ethics in 2015. In 2017 I started my PhD also in the School
of Law at Manchester. My PhD is about artificial wombs and the impact of this
technology on the law and ethics of reproduction and pregnancy.
womb technology is currently being developed as a replacement for conventional
neonatal intensive care. Current methods of intensive care for premature babies
cannot aid babies born before 22 weeks because their lungs are not developed
enough for assisted ventilation. Intensive care also cannot always prevent
premature neonates from developing life-threatening infections during treatment
or serious long-term health problems as a result of being born premature.
Artificial wombs might be the future solution to mortality and morbidity
amongst premature babies. Artificial wombs are designed to mimic the conditions
of the womb and effectively ‘take over’
the process of gestation. An artificial womb treats a premature baby as if it had
never been born. Artificial wombs should ‘sidestep’ the common complications
caused by, or not prevented by, conventional methods of care. In 2017 there was
a successful animal trial of an experimental artificial womb-like device; the
‘biobag.’ The scientists that invented this device have suggested they are only
years away from considering human trials of the biobag.
PhD is by publication, which means that rather than writing a traditional
thesis I am writing and publishing a series of articles on my subject that I’ll
put together into a thesis at the end. In reproduction science and medicine
there are often rapid advances in technology and the law struggles to keep up.
Academic research plays a really important role in highlighting the
insufficiencies of the law at addressing ethical issues with these new
technologies. Writing for publication gives me so much flexibility, and
publishing helps me get stuck into, and generate, academic debate right now and
help ensure my research has impact. I’m very lucky!
days, I spend my time reading and writing in our postgrad research office. I
try to write a little something every day so I don’t get out of the habit. I’m
also a teaching assistant in the school of law: so one day a week I spend
teaching first year students criminal and contract law. I’m hoping to stay in
academic when I’ve finished my PhD because I really enjoy both teaching and
you are interested in my research you can read this blog post about some of my
work on the Journal of Medical Ethics Blog: https://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2018/08/11/artificial-wombs-a-shift-in-approach-to-neonatal-intensive-care-and-beyond/
can also read my first research paper (it’s free because it is open access)
a brief summary of the science behind artificial wombs: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/fluid-filled-biobag-allows-premature-lambs-develop-outside-womb
can also follow my research on my Twitter: https://twitter.com/ECRomanis
more information about Bioethics, Health and the Law at Manchester: https://www.law.manchester.ac.uk/research/themes/bioethics-health-and-law/
My name is Jason Chu, and I’m a
second year PhD student in Biomedical Imaging. For years, I debated what kind
of career I wanted to follow - police, architect, restauranteur. In the end, I
finished my Advanced Highers (the Scottish equivalent of A Levels) in 2012,
with a curiosity for science. I went on to study Immunology at the University
of Glasgow. This decision was heavily influenced by my fascination of TV and
film adaptations of zombie outbreaks, and how our body’s defence system would
fight against pathogens. As part of my Immunology degree, I did a placement
year in 2015 at GlaxoSmithKline where I took part in research to develop novel
In 2017, I started my PhD in
Biomedical Imaging at the University of Manchester. Here, I use 3D PET imaging
technology to understand how an immune cell called macrophages is involved
healthy and diabetic wound healing.
Diabetes is a growing problem
across the world. With massive modern lifestyle changes in recent decades (diet,
technology, work, and healthcare) it is expected to quadruple and affect over
340 million people by 2030. One of the associated complications is an impaired
ability to heal wounds. This can lead to chronic wounds, unresolved infections
and in worst case scenarios – lower limb amputations.
Poor treatment to this affliction
is partly due to a lack of mechanistic understanding. This is where the
scientists come in. It is believed that immune cells such as macrophages may
not be working normally in those that have diabetes and so prevent wounds from
healing as they should.
What do I investigate?
I want to understand how these
macrophages behave in healthy wound healing, and compare it with diabetic wound
healing. To do so, I am using established techniques and developing novel ways
to image these cells. The old-fashioned way is to take small tissue samples of
the wound, process it into wax, cut them into extremely thin slices and stain
it for macrophages – to see how many there are and where they are.
The novel technique I am
developing is to use PET imaging to visualise the macrophages in 3D and in
real-time. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an imaging technique used to
observe biochemical processes inside the body. This requires a radioactive
tracer: an organic compound labelled with a radioactive element. The organic
compound is a jigsaw piece that fits nicely with your biological target (e.g.
macrophages), and the radioactive element is a beacon to make it easier to see.
A small and safe amount of this radioactive tracer is injected into the subject
and accumulates at biologically relevant sites of the body (e.g. macrophages).
When they do so, they release a pair of gamma rays. The PET scanner detects
these and reconstructs them into 3D images of where the radioactive tracer is
in the body.
This allows us as scientists to
gain a better understanding of where and how macrophages behave in the context
of wound healing. This new information and the imaging technology we develop is
a small and exciting puzzle piece in a bigger picture to help improve people’s
Find out more about diabetes and wound healing from these
websites - https://www.woundsource.com/blog/four-stages-wound-healing
Part of the reason I got involved in this project is because
of my interest in imaging and photography, and here are some examples of this
in the biological world - https://bscb.org/competitions-awardsgrants/image-competition/
To find out more about studying immunology in
Manchester - https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2019/10284/bsc-immunology/course-details/#course-profile