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Biomedical Materials: my research into bone regeneration

by YPU Admin on November 15, 2019, Comments. Tags: biomedical materials, material science, PhD, science, and STEM

Introduction

Hi, my name is Negin Kamyar and I am a 2nd year PhD student at University of Manchester. I am doing my PhD in Biomedical materials and I am a part of Bio-Active Materials group headed by Dr. Jonny Blaker.

So, about my background - I did my bachelor’s in biomedical engineering in Azad Tehran University. During my bachelor’s, I worked on fabrication of skin patches for wound healing. As I was getting to know my research interest more and more in the biomedical field, I became more passionate to discover new things in my field. To further progress and improve in my field, I decided to apply to University of Manchester to study my Master’s. I successfully got accepted to study Biomaterials at University of Manchester and I graduated with distinction. During my master’s project I worked on the fabrication of three-dimensional (3-D) materials composed of polymers and two-dimensional (2-D) materials for bone regeneration. Since I was very excited about my master’s project, I decided to start my PhD in Biomedical Material and continue my research with more passion and time. My research is focused on the fabrication of 3-D bone implants which can be degraded over time so that the body’s new tissue can replace the degraded implant. These materials can be used for bone fractures and patients with osteoporosis.

So far, my PhD has been great. I published one paper in the ACS applied nanomaterials journal and I also presented my work to one of the biggest world conferences “Material Research Society (MRS)” in Boston. Participation in this conference gave me the chance to meet a lot of researchers around the world and learn new things in my field and share my research with them. I am looking forward to new achievements and opportunities during my PhD research.

In Depth…

When I was a child, I was always very keen on studying medicine in the future due to having a strong feeling and passion for helping people’s lives. My main inspiration in my life was my family who have always supported me to follow my dreams, since I was a child, and still support me today. While studying at school I was very enthusiastic about biomedical science and my parents bought me many science related books which helped me to be sure that it was what I wanted to do. I remember, when I was in the final year of high school, I met one of our family friends, who was doing research on heart stents and I had very long conversation with her about this field. After that day, I started reading more about the different applications of biomedical devices and I became more and more interested in inventing biomedical devices to improve humans’ lives. So, my dream towards medicine always stayed in my mind, but its direction changed to a more interesting and challenging field for me as biomedical engineer. During my bachelor’s, I worked on the fabrication of skin patches for wound healing and I presented my work in an international conference in Poland. One year after getting my bachelor’s degree, I successfully collaborated in publishing an academic book in Persian called “Nanomaterial in Biomedical Engineering” with my supervisor. During my master’s at Manchester University, I found I was more interested in the topic of bone implants because of current challenges in this field. In my master’s project, I worked on the fabrication of a 3-D fibre-based scaffold for potential bone regeneration which could be degraded over time.

Since I was fascinated by my Master’s project, I decided to continue the topic for my PhD. So, I am currently a second year PhD student and absolutely love my research with all its challenges and adventures. My project is a multidisciplinary topic which focuses on the fabrication of tissue scaffolds with different techniques. These scaffolds are 3-D structures which are composed of polymers and two-dimensional materials which can mimic the natural bone’s tissue. These 3-D scaffolds are integrated with biological factors and cells to mimic the physiological environment. In the physiological environment, these scaffolds can degrade over time and stimulate the formation of new tissue. The main aim of this research is finding a new way to help patients who are suffering from bone fractures and osteoporosis.

Now, I am almost midway through my PhD and I still absolutely love my research. I find every day challenging and adventurous for myself. I definitely can say that research is an unlimited area, that every day I learn and discover new things in my field. Beside doing my research, I also help other bachelor’s and master’s students in the lab with their projects which makes me feel more excited about continuing my own research in my field to a higher level. I have to say that that I am very thankful to all my parents’ support that gave me lots of opportunity to experience an amazing adventure in my life.

Figure 1 3-D scaffold for bone regeneration.

Going Further…

If you are interested in reading my paper, please visit the website: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsanm.8b00938?af=R

If you are interest in finding more information about the biomaterial and our group, please visit the websites: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/jonny.blaker.html and https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/david.lewis-4.html

If you are interested in perusing Materials sciences, please visit the website: http://www.materials.manchester.ac.uk/

We also have a school blog which details life as a materials student and interviews a range of students and lecturers: http://www.mub.eps.manchester.ac.uk/uommaterialsblog/




 

The Unanswered Questions of Brexit

by YPU Admin on November 8, 2019, Comments. Tags: Brexit, Euro-scepticism, history, Humanities, PhD, Political History, and politics

Introduction

‘Brexit means Brexit!’. The words of the former Prime Minister, Theresa May, in June 2016, on the steps of the UK Parliament. But what does Brexit mean? 

Hello, my name is Adam. I’m a first year History PhD student here at The University of Manchester and my research aims to understand the historical origins of euro-scepticism in the UK. The 2016 referendum produced a political crisis. The Vote Leave campaign narrowly ‘won’ 51.9 to 49.1 on a turnout of 72%. Questions of what it means to be a member of the EU, a member of The Conservatives, and much more broadly the British democratic system have been thrown into focus. 

For me, my interest in political history was sparked at a young age. I grew up with the backdrop of the Iraq War — campaigning as a part of the ‘Stop the War’ coalition. I was able to see how Politics has the ability to reshape our world, for better and for worse. Understanding the decisions taken in Westminster – and in constituencies – is therefore important for me.

In Depth... 

I am at the beginning of my research into euro-scepticism but already there are some important questions that have emerged. For example, why did the UK government, at the time, decide to use an open-question referendum rather than, say, a referendum on specific outcomes? Euro-scepticism is a subject that crosses traditional political boundaries but why? How far did ‘political education’, or lack of education, play in the mind of the voter? Did one group particularly benefit from worries of Europeanism? How far did the media present an unquestioning approach to scare stories?

I am in a slightly unusual position to be studying Brexit. As a historian, there is a tendency to look to events that are settled, although may be contested by historians! Yet, with the near daily developments with the UK’s exit from the European Union there is a wealth of new material emerging. This helps keep my research current, but it also throws up its own challenges in how I approach the topic.

Understanding political decisions is important for me. I returned to Manchester to complete a Master’s Degree (immediately before this Ph.D.) after a number of years in the ‘professional world’. It gave me an insight into the concerns and ambitions of businesses, yet I knew that I wanted to further explore my curiosity for History. After decided that I would leave my job, I quickly rediscovered my love of learning and had a wonderful opportunity to meet some amazing people (both academics and friends) who encouraged me to pursue my interest in historical politics further.

Ultimately, I would really like my project to contribute to a much more detailed understanding of how and why political decisions are taken. In this, I hope to contribute through various policy platforms and forums with the aim of ensuring that regional voices are included as much as ‘dominant narratives’ of the ‘Westminster Bubble’.

Going further…

Looking for further information about Brexit can feel a little overwhelming, trust me. However, understanding the origins of euro-scepticism allows us to narrow the field a little and there are some brilliant resources and blogs which help unpack the subject. For my experience, an excellent starting place is the ‘Britain in a Changing Europe’ Research Project run by Professor Anand Menon (https://ukandeu.ac.uk/). As an academic resource, it is thoroughly fact-checked and many of the contributors regularly appear in the media.

For a little further clarification of key terms and some of the ideas often discussed alongside Brexit (such as sovereignty, trade policy, and the Northern Irish ‘backstop’) see the London School of Economics and Political Science Brexit Blog (https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/). Another resource that I regularly use is the BBC’s fantastic ‘Brexitcast’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05299nl). Presented as a podcast (although now on TV as well) the podcast is a really informal way to get the inside track on news and gossip from the UK and Europe. 


 

Performance and Politics - How can they work together?

by YPU Admin on April 12, 2018, Comments. Tags: Humanities, PhD, and Reasearch

Introduction

My name is Asif Majid, and I’m a second-year PhD student in Anthropology, Media, and Performance. Broadly speaking, my work sits at the intersection of theatre and the lived experiences of marginalized communities. I research, teach, perform, and make work at this intersection in a variety of contexts and capacities.


(Storytelling | photo: the stoop)


My PhD research focuses on the ways in which applied theatre offers insights into the lives of British Muslim youth in Manchester. Through a series of workshops, performances, and interviews, I am facilitating a theatre-making process that addresses the sociopolitical narratives that British Muslim youth face. The process spans the current academic year (2017/18), after which point I will draw out common themes from the workshops, performances, and interviews in the writing of my thesis.

 In Depth

Both my academic trajectory and my current research straddle the worlds of performance and politics, bridging theory/practice and a wide variety of disciplines. Originally from the US, I earned my BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Global Peace Building and Conflict Management) at UMBC in 2013. In 2015, I completed a MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University. During both degrees, I focused on the ways in which the performing arts are used in conflict situations and social justice endeavors. Over time, my focus shifted from the broader arts to theatre in particular. This led me to pursue a PhD under the supervision of Prof. James Thompson at Manchester, who is one of the world’s leading experts on applied theatre. My program combines his expertise in Drama with the resources of the Social Anthropology department, such that I have a supervisor from each.

At the same time, I have been an active performer across a number of arts (music, theatre, etc.). This dovetailed with my research inquiries and has allowed me to use my knowledge of theatre and the wider arts to engage with British Muslim youth who are participating in my PhD project. I borrow heavily from a particular type of theatre known as “theatre of the oppressed,” which was developed by Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal. I also leverage a process known as “devising,” which involves making theatre by starting with an idea rather than a fixed script or text. In my case, the idea is the lived experiences of the project’s participants and how they want to represent those to a wider public. My task, essentially, is to facilitate a translation of their lived experiences into art.

My work is part of a broader conversation in the UK’s (and the West’s) cultural sector, which is increasingly thinking about how minority groups are represented in theatre, music, and dance. In the UK, discourses tend to represent British Muslims in largely negative ways: as foreigners, terrorists, or zealots. This project (and my wider work) seeks to push back against these characterizations by putting British Muslim youth at the center of the conversation about them, rather than on its fringes. At the same time, it challenges the public conversation about Britishness, which is continually looking for scapegoats and ways to equate Britishness with Englishness and whiteness, despite the country’s beautiful multiculturalism.

(as mowgli in The Jungle Book | photo: Brian Roberts)


Going Further

Playwright Omar el-Khairy and director Nadia Latif on British Muslims and theatre (https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/apr/13/drama-in-the-age-of-prevent-why-cant-we-move-beyond-good-muslim-v-bad-muslim)

 

An important book about Britain’s current struggles with race and multiculturalism (https://unbound.com/books/the-good-immigrant/)

 

On changing the narrative around British Muslims (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/05/we-will-not-tackle-extremism-by-stigmatising-muslims)

 

A valuable book that critiques the ways that Muslimness is policed and securitized in the UK & US (https://www.versobooks.com/books/1765-the-muslims-are-coming) 

 

About theatre of the oppressed (https://cardboardcitizens.org.uk/theatre-oppressed)

 

On devising theatre (https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2014/dec/16/devised-theatre-ten-tips-collaboration)

 

Drama at the University of Manchester (https://www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/drama/)

 

Anthropology at the University of Manchester (http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/social-anthropology/)

 

 

 

Health Promotion in High Schools

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

Introduction

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

Introduction

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: http://www.cas.manchester.ac.uk/

You can read about my school here: http://www.sees.manchester.ac.uk/