Health Promotion in High Schools

by YPU Admin on March 15, 2018, Comments. Tags: Health Education, Pharmacy, PhD, and Research


My name is Emma and I’m currently in my first year of a Health Education England funded PhD within the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry at the University of Manchester. My A-Levels were in Maths, Biology and Chemistry and in 2011 I started a Master’s degree in pharmacy, again at the University of Manchester.

After I graduated from university in 2015 I completed a one year professional training programme at Warrington and Halton NHS Foundation Trust. At the end of this year I sat the General Pharmaceutical Council Pre-Registration exam and qualified as a pharmacist in summer 2016. For the next year I worked for Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust as a junior clinical pharmacist and although I did enjoy this job, it was at the start of 2017 I applied for my PhD.

In July 2017 I started my PhD at the University of Manchester. My research is focussed on developing a compulsory course for undergraduate pharmacy students to deliver health promotion workshops to high schools students using the teaching style of peer education.

In depth

The principal of peer education is simply that people are likely to learn more from individuals of a similar social status to themselves than from more traditional authority figures. This social status is usually determined by age but it can also be based on other factors such as ethnicity, gender or religion. Peer education can be used in many situations to teach various different topics, including health promotion.

Health promotion involves giving people information to take control and improve their own health. It is important as it can help change personal behaviours that can lead to disease and morbidity. Some of these health behaviours can start early on in life so targeting health promotion within schools is essential.

My research is therefore based around 3rd year pharmacy students delivering health promotion workshops to Year 9 and 10 pupils within schools around Greater Manchester. The workshop topics include mental health, sexual health and alcohol awareness. The pharmacy students must each deliver a workshop each in small groups as part of their degree course. The analysis of the workshops will include if the high school students improved their knowledge about the topic and also how the experience as a whole affected the pharmacy students.

Going further

To find out what we’re up to in Division of Pharmacy and Optometry follow us on twitter: @UoM_PharmOptPGR


Changing the Climate, Changing the Planet!

by YPU Admin on March 1, 2018, Comments. Tags: Climate Change, PhD, Research, and STEM


My name is Zainab Bibi, and I am doing PhD in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the University of Manchester. As a well-rounded student, my interests span across Climate Change, Sustainability and Atmospheric sciences. The topic of my research is new methods for studying atmospheric soot. I want to introduce new processes of using the existing instrumentation and develop novel instruments to further explicate the major properties of Black Carbon and provide new insights and progress into its major processes.

Following my research on Global Universities, I came to conclusion that work being done in School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester is the perfect match for my research interests. My passion is to learn about emerging technologies in the field of Atmospheric sciences and use them to reduce climate change effects.


In Depth

The warming impact of BC is 460 to 1500 times stronger than CO2 and having a varied from few days to few weeks life time. BC, when placed on the snow and ice, causes both increase in melting rate and warming of the atmosphere. BC is produced from the assortment of combustion procedure and is accessible all over the earth system. It has the unique part in the climate system of earth because it influences the cloud processes, absorbs solar radiation and alters the ice cover and snow melting.  Another product of incomplete burning is soot under the hot and air starved conditions. It is also a part of atmospheric aerosol particles that has received the attention of health care and climate research communities because of its adverse impacts and increasing the disease susceptibility leading to cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems diseases in humans. For measuring some of their properties various instruments are being developed for example light absorption and scattering at variable wavelengths and elemental and organic carbon concentrations. On the other hand, new technologies are on their way which allows us to study about them on the next level, which has not been done in the past. Therefore my research focuses on new methods for studying atmospheric soot.

This research work is of the critical importance because emissions from Black carbon are the 2nd major cause of current global warming, after CO2 and it affects the atmospheric content of heat directly and indirectly. By measuring the soot particles we will attain a full picture of how the soot and other atmospheric pollutants are affecting the climate and by characterizing how the atmospheric particles scatter the light and quantifying the particle size and concentrations. Moreover this type of research work will help the scientists to understand the impacts of BC towards climate change and what mitigation strategies would be adapted to reduce its impact on the climate in future.

Going Further

You can read about my research center here:

You can read about my school here:



The road to a post-apocalyptic degree!

by YPU ADmin on February 15, 2018, Comments. Tags: American Literature, English, Humanities, and PhD


My name’s Christina and I’m studying for a PhD in English and American literature at the University of Manchester. Although I’m an English student, I didn’t arrive here through studying the subject as an undergraduate. Whilst studying for A-Levels, I signed up for a creative writing course at a Leeds FE college – which only confirmed I had no talent for creative writing. I’m still very glad I took the class because I met another student who spoke about the Cultural Studies degree she was enrolled on at Leeds University.

Cultural Studies taught me the importance of analysing popular culture and that television, popular music and cinema, as well as literature, are valid subjects for sustained academic enquiry. It was at university that I first began to enjoy academic work. I went on to complete an MA in Cultural and Critical Theory in the same department. By 2015, my research interests took me to contemporary American literature and I began a PhD on the post-apocalypse (or ‘the end of the world’ through war and other horrors) in contemporary American fiction. Fiction about ‘end-times’ interests me because it confirms our worst nightmares. Representations of post-apocalyptic survival tell us about our hopes for the future – an idea which is particularly important following contemporary upheavals in American politics and the beginning of the ‘Trump era’.


In my thesis, currently titled, ‘The Post-Apocalypse in Contemporary North American after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis’, I look at how the post-apocalypse – as an imagined world existing after a destructive catastrophe or event – has become a popular literary landscape for mainstream American authors. The post-apocalypse categorises a growing number of novels, including Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Colson Whitehead’s Zone One (2011) and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014). I argue that, through this post-apocalyptic trend which includes zombie films like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002) as well as literary novels, authors are grappling with changing ideas of ‘risk’ and ‘danger’, especially after the twenty-first-century events like September 11th 2001 and the financial crisis. Contemporary scholars are speculating on how these events, and similar crises, are changing our perceptions of ‘risk’ and danger after the millennium. Companies and governments are allocating and spending increased budgets on security. Defence is increasingly about the web and cyber-security as it is about national defence and borders. The prospect of terror attacks permeates the modern life of British and American cities. A famous sociologist called Ulrich Beck argues that risk is becoming an increasingly prominent feature of everyday life – so much so that, in the twenty-first-century, he claims that we are living in a ‘risk society’, where risk is near-permanent feature of most of public, whether at school or at work, and private life.

My thesis argues that the post-apocalyptic trend in contemporary fiction represents a literary and cultural effort to envisage a future whether the continual prospect of risk has been suddenly – and without warning – cut off by disaster. Uniquely, in the twenty-first-century, the post-apocalypse becomes a disaster-filled and yet still risk-free landscape. According to scholars like Beck, risk is a threat which is managed by our complex democracies, technology and media. After the apocalypse, these institutions have been removed or obliterated. Survivors which are the focus of novels like The Road are reduced to scavenging, and yet they live in a world in which the almost mundane sense of constant risk is replaced by immediate danger. I argue that these post-apocalyptic novels are crucial for interrogating public perceptions of risk in the twenty-first-century, and unease with the risk-management culture which has followed 9/11. The contemporary post-apocalyptic genre, therefore, is more than an outlet for releasing the effects of global climate change and other contemporary fears. The post-apocalypse places responsibility for safety and security back in the hands of survivors, and ultimately registers public anxieties about how the abstract prospect of ‘risk’ is changing how people live and act in the twenty-first-century.

Going Further

’31 Essential Science Fiction Terms and Where They Came From’, iO9,

A debate about the popularity of contemporary post-apocalyptic novels between two literature scholars in the literary magazine Public Books:  Ursula Heise, ‘What’s the Matter with Dystopia?’ & Andrew Hoberek, ‘The Post-Apocalyptic Present’,

‘Will 2017 be 1984?’, Alluvium Journal, . Caroline Edwards and Ben Worthy revisit George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) in light of political events of 2017.

‘Zombie Preparedness: Graphic Novel’. Zombie graphic novel released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention educating readers about ‘emergency preparedness’

Science-fiction authors Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood discuss the category of ‘speculative fiction’



Leading the way in biomaterials!

by YPU Admin on January 18, 2018, Comments. Tags: Biomaterials, cells, nanoscience, PhD, and Research


Hi! My name is Zara Smith and I’m a 2nd year PhD student at the University of Manchester. I’m funded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and am currently based on the North Campus of the university. I am part of the Biomaterials research group headed by Prof. Julie Gough.

I finished high school in 2011, with A levels in Biology, Chemistry and English Literature.  Though my decision to study Biology was a quick one and rather rushed, I REALLY enjoyed studying for my undergraduate degree at the University of Hull, and loved it enough to continue onto a Master’s degree in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine at UCL. I took a year out following this and worked as a Trainee Assistant Analytical Chemist for TATA Steel in their environmental monitoring department, before deciding on my PhD project. My work at Manchester focuses on repairing tissues in the body that naturally would not heal by themselves. I work specifically with the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), a major knee ligament, which accounts for the majority of sports injuries and has a high rate of reintervention post-surgery.

So far my PhD has been great! I’ve travelled to a European conference in Switzerland to present my work and been to another here in Manchester, where I have met academics from all over the world. Hopefully there will be many more opportunities to share my research with the academic community!

In Depth...

I first became interested in the field of Biomaterials when I was doing my undergraduate degree, specifically the tiny biological interactions that happen at a surface and how we can use those interactions to guide a desired biological response. I have always been interested in creating biomedical devices and helping to create something which would improve the life of an individual and the medical field in that area, seemed almost like a calling! After graduating from my Biology degree, I immediately began my Masters. I completed a research project on the nano-delivery of growth factors to a model central nervous system, which only served to fuel my interest in the bio-responses of cells to materials on the micro and nano scale. 

After the completion of my Master’s degree, though knowing I wanted to do a PhD, I decided it was time to take a year out, gather some industrial experience and take the time to find a project that aligned with my interests. During this year, I was selected for an assistant position at TATA Steel where I performed both regular sampling analysis and novel research in analytical chemistry. I chose the ACL project at Manchester as it sounded fascinating and combined all the areas I find interesting; fast forward a year and I still absolutely love it! The project itself focuses on producing materials that will encourage cells taken from the ACL to produce a protein scaffold that matches as closely as possible the protein scaffold present in the native ACL. This means that the cells will start laying down the protein building blocks that are integral to building a native ACL, replacing the one that has already been irreparably damaged. We are aiming to achieve this through manipulating the cells at the surface of the materials with both physical cues and proteins.

(A picture of ACL cells from a light microscope!)

For the most part, my days usually consist of lab work, planning experiments, data analysis and reading and writing.

Due to the nature of the field, our group is highly interdisciplinary. We have members from all kinds of disciplinary backgrounds spanning biological sciences, chemistry and all types of engineering. This in itself makes for a very interesting working environment where minds from very different backgrounds can come together and work to build materials/technologies.


Going Further...

If you are interested in perusing Materials sciences, the University of Manchester School of Materials webpage is here >

Interested in the Biomaterials work in my group? Find out more here > and here >

We also have a school blog which details life as a materials student and interviews a range of students and lecturers >  

If you are interested in the societies associated with biomaterials research, take a look here >


Researching heritage: Transporting people to transporting minds

by YPU Admin on January 4, 2018, Comments. Tags: Heritage, history, MSI, Museum of Science and Industry, PhD, and Research


My name is Erin Beeston and I’m a part-time PhD Student at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM) at the University of Manchester and the Science Museum Group. I’m working on a collaborative doctoral award, which means I work across two institutions: the University of Manchester and Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), Manchester.

I began my academic career at the University of Manchester in 2004, when I started a History undergraduate degree. During this time, I realised I’d like to work in heritage. The University Careers Service suggested I gain experience by volunteering and I began a placement at the Manchester Museum’s Herbarium making digital records of historic botany specimens. Then I studied for a master’s degree in Art Gallery and Museum Studies whilst working part-time in museums. I used my academic knowledge, skills from my university course such as organisation, time management, accurate record keeping and presentation skills along with what I learnt though working and volunteering to start a career in museums. I worked at Salford and then Bolton Museum, mostly with social and industrial history collections. Although I enjoyed my work, I was interested in studying for PhD as I am passionate about research. I saw an advertisement by the Science Museum Group for a PhD student to work on the history of uses and perceptions of Liverpool Road Station (the site of the Museum of Science and Industry). As I had previously worked at MSI as an assistant presenter (doing fun things like children’s activities and helping with science shows), I was keen to research the museum’s rich history and applied for the project.    

In Depth

The focus of my research is Liverpool Road Station, which dates form 1830 and is the oldest railway station in the world. Whilst the early history of the station is well known, for many decades after the passenger service (1830-1844) it was a freight station – which has been overlooked by historians. I am working on both the history of the site and exploring how it was transformed into the museum during the 1970s and 1980s. I often visit archives to view primary sources about the site, these can be documents, maps or other visual sources. I have been to London to visit National Archives, to the National Railway Museum in York, viewed archives in Liverpool, Chester, Manchester and Preston. I have also recorded interviews called oral histories with people who either worked at the railway station or played a part in rescuing it and making the museum. This research is important to the museum, who are using findings to present the history of their buildings to the public, particularly the lesser known freight story. The results of my thesis are informing work on new galleries at MSI. I enjoy finding out new stories and ways of looking at the history of the site and discussing this with staff at the museum and the public. During my PhD, I have shared my research with other postgraduates, academics and the public through conferences and talks. I’ve even attended a summer school in Budapest! It’s a brilliant journey, finding out new things and developing ideas and arguments along the way.

Going Further

I undertook an undergraduate degree in History at the University: <>

My master’s was at the Centre for Museology: <>


My first experience working in a museum was at the Manchester Museum’s Herbarium where I learnt about record keeping, digitisation and collections care: <>


Here you can find out more about the Science Museum Group’s research programme:


And the focus of my research - the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester: <>

At CHSTM we write about our work for this blog: <>

For example, I wrote a blog about my summer school experience at the CEU in Budapest! <>

Here you can find more about CHSTM and the modules available to undergraduates: <>