Saturday, 28 June 2014

UCL Awes The Public With Cutting Edge Research

"It has never been more important to explain to members of the public the purpose and goals of our research and receive feedback from the local community" - Professor Hans Stauss, director of UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation. 

The UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation at the Royal Free Hospital opened its doors on 27th June for the general public to meet the scientist and clinicians, to talk and discuss the cutting edge research and pioneering therapies ongoing at the institute. They also offered a tour of the facilities without forgetting the very important cakes.  
A beautiful image of a T-Cell interacting with an APC
Similar to the drug manufacturing process, the development of a therapy from bench to bedside takes about 15years and although the institute opened just a year ago, the progress made is fascinating. Following on from the success of the initial project phase, the director of the institute Professor Hans Stauss unveiled a multi-million pound expansion plan of the institute to serve both research and clinical trials with in house accommodation for trial subjects all under one roof.  He applauded the professional competence, motivation and passion of the staff at the institute whose qualities have contributed the success of the cutting edge and pioneering research ongoing at the institute.
There were talks from world class researchers and clinicians about their ongoing work on cancer, HIV, diabetes and transplantation as well as the therapies currently in clinical trials. The day was very interactive with breaks in-between talks to visit poster boards, watch 3D organs being made, live images of cells battling the immune system, interactive competitions and hands on fun, as well as a 60seconds HIV test.
As a public engagement Ambassador, I was impressed with the setup of the day and was highly fascinated by the level of research and progress made at the institute.

A picture speaks a thousand words and videos…… I guess sums it all. So below are short clips and images from the day.

 Organ is captured from a CT scan and moulded using 3D printing technolgy and nanomaterials. Stem cells are are then injected into the organ and voila!!! Ok, its not that simple but that's the summary. There have been successful transplant of organs using this method.

Then I thought I'll be a guinea pig and get HIV tested in Public. The institute have a vaccine that's completed phase 1 trials. Looking promising. 

And we had fun making virusus, This is a good hands on resource for schools and science fairs

Pipetting Competition. All about efficiency, accuracy and preciscion. Yep I've got the best technique. Didnt catch the winning board at the end though! 



Anonymous said...

What I find most fascinating is the organs printed and moulded, to have stem cells injected in them. Tell us a bit more about it. Also I thought drug development only took half the time now. Is it still as long?

hephzia tagoe said...

Oh yer it's still that long and many do not make it through the clinical trial phases. I'll write a follow up post on the scaffold to organ process. stay tuned!