Nuffield Research Programme

After just a few days of attending the Nuffield Research programme, it’s now prominent that my project involves the treatment of prostate cancer. I’m working with prostate cancer cells to see how different treatments such as BME and HGF affect the cell lines. I’ve carried out various experiments to see what the effects of these treatments are on the cell numbers.

Each experiment is different and serves a different purpose, we’re taught how to carry out the experiment and then are required to follow through and write up notes and a report on each technique. The research done all contributes towards cancer research, the findings are repeated three to four times, and everything in our report is double checked to ensure its correct.

So far I’ve already carried out an invasion and motility assay, and had the chance to record my findings; not only is this project extremely independent, it also acquires in depth knowledge of each experiment as there are no gaps for errors. My cells which I’m allocated to work with are PC-3 cells from a 73 year old male, and have been repeatedly split to allow me to continue my work with them.

The Nuffield research programme has thoroughly motivated me to research further into a career in science, having wanting to study medicine at university, this project has benefited me enormously. It has allowed me the chance to better my communication skills as well as being able to follow instructions and work more independently. It was extremely beneficial talking to many of the PhD students and mentors who share similar views regarding science.

This programme has given me the chance to gain more knowledge about certain areas of science and life as a scientist. It has opened up opportunities within science and given me a broader prospective on science careers.

I’ll be uploading my full report after the six weeks of research in the Heath Hospital in Cardiff.

Cancer research Cancer research Cancer research

Work experience with Mr Andy Thomas in Urology

This was by far one of the most moving work experience opportunities I have undertaken! My interest in cancer research has always been huge, but I never realised how fund raising actually affected the patients. Even the smallest amounts of money benefits the patients in such a big way, clearly what I raised wasn’t enough to buy a brand new piece of state of the art laser machine, but it contributed towards research, and that’s what the patients are grateful for!
I was lucky enough to observe many different things during this week, from consultations to surgery. I learnt about various techniques such as ultrasounds of the bladder, and was lucky enough to be taught a little about the bladder itself. I observed many different doctors and nurses during my week in urology and read many different facts about how to help your bladder in remaining the best it can. I also had the opportunity to meet some cancer patients, who didn’t mind talking about how they’ve been dealing with it. The regular check-ups and treatments are exhausting but at the end of the day, most patients were glad to do it if it meant that they could beat or prevent the cancer from coming back
It’s terrifying to think that cancer can affect any one of us, and that’s what this work experience has taught me, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So do your bit for cancer or any other disease that fascinates you, and try to appreciate each day.

Work Experience in Ophthamology

First week of work experience in the Ophthalmology Department at Princess Of Wales hospital!

This week of work experience has confirmed my interest in medicine! I loved every minute of it, and as ironic as it sounds, even the clinical placements were interesting. The doctors and nurses I was placed with tried their best to teach me and keep me interested in a working day life at the hospital, and I can definitely credit them for helping me confirm my choice to study medicine one day!
I observed various surgeries, from cataract and corneal replacements to breast removal and plastic surgery. Getting scrubbed up and observing the surgeons attempt to give someone a better quality of site and living really overwhelmed me, it was fascinating to see how a small group of people can restore someone’s eyes and give them the ability to see again, to let them go about their day to day tasks without a problem.

I met some amazing people, and heard so many different stories of how the doctors and nurses managed to get to where they are now! It’s great to hear that there are so many different ways to get into the medical profession, so don’t be disheartened if you didn’t what you wanted the first time, keep trying and one day you’ll get there!

Cloning Human Embryos

Who would have guessed that science could progress so far as to producing human embryos? Well it’s been done! I was reading the BBC news earlier and I came across this article on cloning. The concept is similar to the one used with Dolly the sheep, however a lot more expensive. The embryos are used as a source of stem cells which can then go on to make new heart muscle, tissue cells etc.

A team of scientists have managed to produce an embryo with 150 cells. It seems surreal, however, the concept isn’t too difficult to understand. In simple terms, a female’s egg is taken and most of the DNA is removed from within the egg. The egg is injected with the cells of another human being’s skin. Then, with the combination of chemicals and electrical impulses, the cells develops into an embryo.
A five day old embryo is far from a new born baby, however could it be done? Here, in the UK, it’s illegal due to the differentiation between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, however some countries may allow it. We’re still many years away from mastering yet another medical miracle, however if it was to be completed successfully, would you opt for your very own clone, or are there far too many ethical issues concerning this matter? Growing your very own clone to harvest vital organs from seems far fetched, surely, however who’s to say people may not vote in favor for this?
This can be a good thing however, we can clone endangered species to prevent mass extinctions, and help biodiversity, rather than to play about with the moral dilemmas of cloning human beings. Many people will also oppose this, as they’re not in favor of scientists trying to play God, religious opposition will rise due to this discovery, however there are two sides to every story.
Could cloning be the solution to deathly diseases, and heart attacks?

Nuffield Research Project

I recently applied to participate in a Nuffield research project. I can’t wait to find out whether or not I’ll be spending four weeks of my summer surrounded by like minded people researching something that I want!

All of you who won’t be applying to University until next year, get online and research it! It’s a great way to extend your UCAS application, and it makes you stand out from the crowd!

The research project basically entails you to carry out a research project which interests you, whether that’s in biology, chemistry or physics. Nuffield caters for science as a whole.

I’ve chosen to do base my research around biology and chemistry as I want to study medicine. I’m unsure as to what I’ll be researching specifically but I’ll decide that based on whether or not I’m fortunate enough to partake in this project.

It does take up four weeks of your summer, but hey, you’ll be enjoying it, doing something you want to do. You can even apply for a bursary. How much better can it get!

It’s also nationally recognised by admissions tutors, so at the end of it when your receive your certificate, not only will you be able to write about it in UCAS, but it will also qualify as an extra to help you get into university. It shows you’ve really researched your hosed career path, and taken time out of your summer to explore more.

For all those interested to do it next summer, have a look here;

Trip to Heath Hospital, Cardiff

On the 22nd of March, our head of sixth form arranged for 14 pupils from Brynteg to go to Heath hospital for a medical road show. The road show consisted of so many different aspects of medicine, whether it was right at the beginning by applying to medical school, or the different jobs in the NHS, and even how it was working in a lab. Our day was split into two different tours, a a few short talks and an exhibition.

The exhibition highlighted all the different areas of medicine, from ophthalmology to paediatrics and surgery. Each stall had various components and games for us to interact in. The short talks were about a career in medicine, we heard from a clinical doctor and another PhD Dr in maths. It was interesting to see how many different roles there were in the NHS.

The most memorable tour in my opinion was our second tour to the haematology department, where we visited the lab and had a talk about leukaemia and cells.

It’s fascinating to find out that there are over 100 trillion cells in our body! I can’t even begin to imagine that’s possible, but then that’s what intrigues me. This was just one fact, there are thousands of different facts about the human body which I’m itching to find out when I study medicine, whether that hopefully next year, or years to come.

We also visited the physiology department where we participated in various activities. I found out my lungs aren’t so great after taking a breathing test! You breathed into the pipe and the machine drew up a graph of how strong and long one breath of yours was. We also tested out different machines for our back and core strength, reflected on the day now, I think I need to hit the gym and take some singing classes after these tests!

Overall the day was eventful to say the least! I’d highly recommend it as a day to explore medicine!

Animal Testing

Just last night I was browsing the web and came across the PETA website- People for the Ethical Treatment of animals. I started to look around and stumbled upon their page on major brands which test on animals.

This is a very complicated and controversial topic, some say animal testing for medical advancements seems a little more ethical than testing for beauty and hair products, whilst others are completely against any form of animal testing. I’ll let you guys stick with your views without indoctrinating you with mine, but here’s a list of some MAJORLY successful brands that still test on animals for beauty products-
Oral B
Max factor
Head and shoulders
Clean and clear
Calvin Klein
Estée Lauder
Herbal essence

This is just a small list out of the hundreds of companies which do test on animals. If you are against cosmetic animal testing then do your research! I was shocked to find that some of my favourite brands tested their products on animals! I will definitely be researching my products before buying anything.

However to put your minds at ease, there are some great brands such as ’The Body Shop,’ ’Lush’ and ’Revlon’ which don’t test on animals!

Here’s the link to the official PETA web page where you can find out about ANY company and whether or not they test on animals!

And here’s the list of all of the companies which do test on animals

Dissection of a fish and a lamb heart!

So I’d never dissected a fish before, finally got to that today. The smell was rather strong! The aim was to see all the vital parts of the fish for our gas exchange topic in BY2, it did help, but trying to identify each section was probably the hardest of things. It was so delicate and complex, that I was scared to get my scalpel and tweezers into the poor thing. We finally did identify the gill lamellae, oesophagus and other parts of the fish, now that’s the only thing that will be going through my mind if I get a question on the fish gaseous exchange!

The lamb heart on the other hand wasn’t as bad, as we’ve done it plenty of times before hand. It was quite easy to identify the four valves- tricuspid, bicuspid, pulmonic and aortic, alongside the different sides of the heart. It was a lot more bloody, but I guess that’s expected, and it’s good practice before actually having to dissect human bodies in medicine- if I’m lucky enough to get into medical school.

The heart is complex but I guess having done it three times, you get used to it and it becomes almost like second nature to you, when you have to identify different parts of it. It was difficult to cut through the middle and required just a bit of force but hearing the crunch every time the scalpel cut another part of the heart was probably the most exciting bit of it all. Of course in medical school, dissection will be a lot more advanced but it’s good to get your hands dirty every now and again, even if it is a lambs heart.

12th Night of January

Every year on the twelfth night of January, a fantastic lady Gwyneth Poacher, hosts an event to raise money and awareness for her very own charity- Sandville respite care centre. This centre is the only one of it’s kind in the whole of Wales. It offers caregivers and family members to take a short break from all the every day responsibilities of care-giving. It also offers therapies ranging from hypnosis to reiki. There are a huge number of volunteers who help out each day; night time carers, masseuses and students.

This event was hosted at the Hi Tide in Porthcawl, by the beach front with a celebrity showing also. The theme of the evening was fancy dress, and everyone took it to the next level, from people dressed as Mrs Brown look a-likes to a group of fish in an aquarium! The event raised a great amount of money for the amazing charity which relies solely on donations and fund raising.

It was honestly a night to remember!

385346_10200242503053631_162750602_n 408440_10200242558775024_114924165_n

Winter Work-experience

Last Christmas, I undertook work experience at a General Practitioner’s surgery, where I spent one week working under the supervision of the manager, Sarah, who took me under her wing and showed me how a General Practitioner ’s surgery is run. I had the experience of patient interaction, in which I learnt how reliant the patients are on their doctors, how a General Practitioner not only has to prescribe medication and do a routine check up, but how they have to take care of things from social care, to observing the mental health of the patient. Being a General Practitioner requires the skill to work with all ages of patients, and being understanding of different situations. I now understand that working as a General Practitioner not only requires you to help people as a doctor, but more so as an adviser. The week at the surgery taught me how important paperwork is, how one document decides whether or not a patient is to be admitted into hospital, and how vital it is to check over the medication prescribed.

I was lucky enough to observe blood being taken and a few minor surgeries. It fascinated me at how complex a minor surgery is, and how talented the General Practitioner has to be to lead this.
This experience really intrigued me, it led me to organise another week of work experience this summer at a different General Practitioner’s surgery, to see if things are carried out the same way at every surgery.