Let's Talk About [X] 2018

Schedule, Abstracts, and Speaker Info

Click each presenter's name to jump to their abstract and bio
Tuesday 27 Feb
Wednesday 28 Feb
















Arrival - tea & coffee

Keynote speaker - to be announced

Joanna Ashby
Medicine - 3rd Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Global Surgery

Abstract:  Five billion people, two-thirds of the world, lack access to safe, affordable surgery when needed. No one should die of a difficult pregnancy, road traffic accident, cancer diagnosis, injury or heart attack because they live too far away from a hospital or cannot afford the surgery. Yet 17 million lives are lost to surgically-preventable conditions every year, while 4 million are lost to Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, combined.


2015 was a pivotal year for Global Surgery. The landmark Lancet Commission on Global Surgery report held surgically-treatable conditions accountable for 1/3 of global disease burden. The World Health Assembly recognised surgery as an essential component of healthcare, and surgery was prioritised in UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 for “good health and well-being”.


Global Surgery needs economists, technicians, engineers, statisticians, logisticians and innovators.


How do we get surgery to 5 billion?

Who can help and how?


Why don’t we hear about Global Surgery?

Bio:  I am a third-year medical student at University of Glasgow. Last year I was the summer intern at the UCSF Global Surgery department in San Francisco, California where I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in the Global Surgery field. Working on a report which reviewed existing National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans, or "N-SOAPs", in low-resource settings, opened my eyes to the lack of surgery

around the world. It also inspired an interest in how recent breakthroughs and innovations in tech, such as machine learning and blockchain, could be really important in achieving safe and affordable surgery when needed.


Aside from Global Surgery, I graduated with a Biomedical Science degree from London, teach piano, and speak Russian, badly.

Paul Botez
Geography - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Abstract:  Medicine in Ancient Egypt is without a doubt one of the most fascinating aspects of the culture that flourished thousands of years ago on the Nile Valley. Extremely advanced and well-respected for its time, it would go on to influence both Greek and Roman medicine and would not be surpassed for centuries in its skills and techniques. I believe my research is relevant because it explores a field that is not often discussed, but is highly useful for our general knowledge and our understanding of the evolution of medicine over time. The paper is written in a style accessible for all types of audiences, with a good balance of general and specialist observations and definitions of unknown terms provided where necessary. While not attempting to be exhaustive, it will cover a few key areas in the field, including surgical practices, the status of doctors and the use of natural remedies.

Finn Campbell-Young
Medicine - 1st Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Intuition in Medicine

Abstract:  This piece of research questions the role of intuition in clinical reasoning, particularly its application in triage decision-making in an Emergency Department. Once considered fundamental for decision-making, the concept of intuition has lost traction within the medical field, with movement towards an evidence-based model of practice (clinical practice based on scientific data). 

Recent studies have conflicting definitions of intuition. It is difficult to research a concept that does not have a clear universal definition. This piece of research proposes a definition of intuition whilst distinguishing it from instinct. This definition highlights the potential common ground between two seemingly conflicting concepts, intuition and evidence-based practice.

Research is collated from theoretical and empirical sources. The results highlight the potential application for intuition in clinical practice, particularly in an Emergency Department.


Bio:  It was during my time studying Nursing at The University of Bordeaux that I cultivated my interest in Emergency Medicine. This brought me back to my hometown of Glasgow where I am now in my first year of Medical School.

The concept of intuition is something that has intrigued me throughout my time working in Emergency Departments. Its elusive

nature and subjective 

characteristic has led to it often being misunderstood. I hope to clarify this concept and argue its place in the medical practice of today.


Apart from spending my time reading lecture slides and looking up weird X-Rays on the internet, I enjoy all things sport-related. I play rugby, surf, race long-distance triathlons and wind-down by walking my three dogs.

Chris Charnley
Law - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Body Parts in the Law

Abstract:  It's a universally recognised principle that human beings are people and bits of metal are things. Except, when you take a bit of metal and bolt it onto a snapped femur, that's suddenly not the case anymore. Is that bit of metal in our metaphorical patient's leg their property, or is it part of their body, in the same way as an organ?

The courts tend to shy away from discussing this in any great amount of detail (as most people would if someone suddenly brought up body parts), so the academic community has taken up the issue. On one side are the academics proposing that body parts should be recognised as property; other academics that believe that in stating that body parts are property, it objectifies the body.

But the real problem isn't with whether or not body parts should be property, it's with the dichotomy pitting persons against property.

Bio:  “Hi there, I’m going to talk to you about body parts.”


I’ve recently found out that there is no better way to make a terrible impression on anyone than by saying those words, so I’m at something of a disadvantage here. Everyone seems to slowly edge away from you…


I come from St. Andrews (no, I do not play golf) and I’m currently in my fourth year of studying law.


My interest in body parts came about while doing research for my dissertation. As one of those strange people that enjoys reading about legal theory – in particular ownership of the body – this really caught my attention. As a complete sci-fi nerd, I began to wonder how the current theories would interact with the technology employed within the body, both currently and in the future.


After graduating, I hope to enter the academic field, and continue to make people think I’m weird by talking about body parts far more than should be considered healthy for a normal person.

Grete Veronika Gedutyte
Politics & Philosophy - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Attempts to Denuclearise North Korea

Abstract:  Current tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea raise many questions and worries. My research project aims to address the ones that fundamentally relate to the effectiveness of the economic sanctions which can be described as financial pressures originating from governments, designed to alter the behavior of states that breach international agreements or norms. Although fairly frequently implemented, do they have the power to actually achieve desired objectives or do they only harm innocent civilians?


Firstly, I provide some background information in order to explain how this situation came about: what, in the eyes of international community, disqualifies North Korea from the nuclear club and what is the rationale behind North Korea developing these weapons even though the government is aware of the severe punishment it provokes.


Then, I compare the two cases of Iran and North Korea to see why and how sanctions helped to achieve Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015 while the dealings with North Korea tend to reach a dead-end regardless of numerous rounds of sanctions that have been imposed.

Anna Gilleard
Psychology - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
What It Means to Age with Autism

Abstract:  Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disorder with known impacts throughout the lifespan. Whilst the majority of Autism research is dedicated to child and adolescent development, there is little known about the the trajectory of development of autism in adulthood, even less so in middle and later adulthood.


My research is interested in filling this information gap and furthering theory on Ageing with Autism from the perspectives of the adults themselves. A better understanding of the life course pattern of autism is essential for developing appropriate, person-centred support and service provision, which is particularly pertinent in the ageing population we live in.


By conducting interviews with families of adults on the spectrum, I hope to elucidate some of the questions regarding what it means to age with autism. This will be guided entirely by the lived experiences, needs and goals of adults growing into older adulthood and their families.

Bio:  I am a curious and enthusiastic philosophy and psychology student, now in my 4th year. My interest in Developmental psychology has blossomed into a complete fascination with Autism alongside the work I have done supporting children and now adults with Autism.

Having worked closely with a wonderful gentleman on the spectrum, I am constantly surprised and intrigued by how Autism can shape a person’s experience of the world and their way of thinking in a way that tells us much about our own minds too. Being of a loyal philosophy background, the unanswered questions fascinate me most, how do individuals experience ageing with autism and how do they attribute meaning to these experiences?

So it made sense to turn these midnight musings into research that could potentially benefit many individuals like the gentleman I support, and more broadly, all of us in understanding our own minds a little bit better. 

Lauren Graham
History - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in

Abstract:  For my dissertation, I decided to stretch the bounds of my historical study to consider the presentation of Europe and the EU by the British media during the referendum campaigns of 1975 and 2016, both of which were concerned with whether Britain should leave the European Community.


When I discuss my research, people are surprised to hear that historical research can cover recent topics like Brexit and “sciency” techniques such as database analysis. But that is exactly what I do. By combining my research with traditional historical methods of source analysis, I have analysed the presentation of Europe in British newspapers during the two referendums held on British membership, held 40 years apart and with dramatically different outcomes.

The results show the difference in presentation that 40 years causes, and my work has attempted to cover everything from the paper’s individualism, their ideological motives, and what exactly this reflects in the British public, or at least in their press.


My research is not to laud or castigate the results of the most recent referendum, but to place it in its historical setting, to reveal more about the nature of the British press and public, and to perhaps educate people about the mysteries history can reveal if you start asking the right questions. 

I didn't originally come to Glasgow to study history, in fact my chosen degree was English Literature, but as I got more involved with my studies I realised how history was not just reading dusty books and arguing about people long dead. I often find history to be an exploration of the modern world through what the past can show us, as long as we are looking for it. In my experience, it has helped expand my horizons beyond the everyday, while also continually reminding me of the debate, criticism and bias that surrounds us both in history and daily life.


During my time at Glasgow, I have experienced a lot of great things both in academic and social life. I am an office holder for the GU Irish/Northern Irish Society and the History Society, as well as working at the university part-time as part of the SRC. I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of academic conferences, and have secured a place at the University of Edinburgh next year to study Law. In my spare time, I enjoy taking in the sights around Glasgow (especially the dogs in Kelvingrove Park) and trying not to drink my body weight in tea.

Bio:  I am a final year History student originally from Northern Ireland. The difficult past of my home country has made me very aware of the diverse range of opinions, views and beliefs that can be held even in a small place, and that is partly what encouraged me to explore more of the identity and questions that I will consider in my presentation.

Fergus Hall
Music - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Traditional Music and Contemporary Scottish Jazz Music

Abstract:  Scottish traditional music manifests itself not only within traditional music scenes but also within the music of many Scottish musical artists that span a myriad of styles and backgrounds. One of the most fascinating areas of intersection occurs when traditional music and contemporary jazz come together to create music that is distinctive, energetic and emotive. How and why are these two separate musical styles able to merge so effectively?


My talk will attempt to address this question by examining the specific motives behind the work of these composers and performers as well as how this affects the experience of the listener. I will discuss how this music counters negative stereotypes of jazz and instead presents itself as highly engaging contemporary music. With this talk I hope to give a brief insight into some of the innovative jazz music that is being created and performed today within Glasgow's holistic music scene.

Bio:  My name is Fergus Hall and I am a musician from Inverclyde currently in my final year of a Bachelor of Music Degree. I have been playing music for most of my life and my greatest interest is how various styles and practices of music can relate to one another. For this reason I often let my work as

a musician and composer inform and be informed by my interests as a researcher and insistent listener of music. For example, jazz music, the main focus of my talk, has been a passion since my early teens. Now jazz is one of my biggest influences as a composer, was the subject of my dissertation and I also even occasionally attempt to play it!

When I am not playing, writing or reading about music I love attending gigs all over Glasgow or meeting with friends and talk about the next project.

Louise Hall
French - 5th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Late Nineteenth Century France

Abstract:  With the concept of mental health becoming increasingly visible across the Western world during recent years, the question of where our understandings about mental illness come from is of paramount importance. The late nineteenth century in France was a significant period of development with regards to the categorisation, perception, and treatment of mental illness.


This presentation compares depictions of mental illness in the fictional literature of Emile Zola, a prolific late nineteenth-century French writer, with case studies from prominent French medical journals from this period. I argue that this comparison sheds light on how gender roles and concerns about the deterioration of the family unit were thought about within this context. This research demonstrates that the interaction of medical and literary portrayals of mental illness holds up a mirror to late nineteenth-century French society, putting many modern-day perceptions of mental illness into context.

Bio:  My name is Louise Hall and I am a final year student of French at the University of Glasgow.  I grew up in Inverness and moved to Glasgow five years ago to study although I have also lived and worked in the South-West of France for a year as part of my degree.

Having campaigned for improved mental health services with organisations both in Inverness and Glasgow, I decided to apply my interest in perceptions of mental illness to a French history-based research project.  Combining my love of modern languages with my interest in the history of psychiatry has been a challenging and hugely rewarding experience which has inspired ideas for future research.  I feel strongly that this interdisciplinary approach offers rich and varied insights into many issues and I hope that this research will inspire people to consider present-day mental illness narratives in a new light.

Jasper Elan Hunt
Psychology - 3rd Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in

Abstract:  Think before you tweet!


The way we use language offers unique insights into the inner workings of our minds. But just how much can we learn from a single writing sample, particularly a short one like a post to social media?


In this study, 86 romantic couples wrote briefly about a time when they felt emotionally vulnerable. Many participants wrote very little and writing samples were often in incomplete sentences. These writing samples were digitized and analyzed for comparison with participants’ responses to personality measures.


This research study is another example in psycholinguistics demonstrating just how much we may reveal, knowingly or unknowingly, when we hit “Post”.


The story starts one foggy morning in 1996 when I was born in Michigan, USA. Since I was very young, I have always wanted to travel to the UK. Eventually, life brought me as a teenager to a small town in Wyoming, where I first studied psychology as a high school student. Then, when I subsequently enrolled at university, I was entranced

as I learned more and more about the inner workings of the mind. Eventually, my search for greater knowledge connected my latest obsession with my earliest: I could further my studies in psychology by coming to the UK.

Piotr Kalarus
Physics - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Laser Optics

Abstract:  Last year I worked on a project titled 'Computer Generated Holograms'. In my talk I will explain what a hologram is and how it is created. I will also briefly describe different laser beam modes that could be used to generate a hologram. Then we will see how to force a laser beam into a desired shape and what useful outcome it yields. This project alone should show why Laser Optics is interesting but I will also mention projects that are currently being researched at University of Glasgow to increase the interest even further.

Salma Khatun
Medicine - 1st Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in the Link between Health Inequalities, Social Relationships, and Hospital Admissions

Abstract:  Social relationships nurture an aggregation of benefits and determinants for health. By 2020, there is expected to be a £30 billion gap in the NHS's finances. Hospital admissions have risen steadily over the past decade; in 2012-13 there were 5.3 million emergency admissions. Hospital admissions stem from a range of health inequalities, socioeconomic problems, social isolation, fragmented care, political apathy and the consequences of austerity measures. 
A systematic literature review found a positive relationship between lack of social relationships, health disparities and the increase in hospital admissions. 
The NHS faces capacity issues: long waiting lists, bed blocking and lack of nurses and GPs. Reducing hospital admissions will enhance quality of life and decrease the resource and financial burden on primary and secondary care services. It is recommended that future governments tackle the conditions in which socioeconomic problems persist; taking care to decrease social isolation, increase community health promotion and cohesion.  

Ka Leung
Sociology - 2nd Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Lithuanian Nationalism

Abstract:  Lithuania, along with the other two Baltic States, has so far emerged from the aftermath of the 1990s triumphant and less corrupt than any other Former Soviet Union states. With the construction of a national identity, the Lithuanian independence movement was able to unite and mobilise the populace, eventually securing succession from the Soviet Union. Lithuanian politics, however, inherits far more from this construction of the myth of the nation than independence.


One significant aspect of the Lithuanian national myth is the rural homeland, where people live out their lives according to traditions, undisturbed by Soviet industrialisation and modernisation. To what extent does this notion create resistance towards urbanisation and Western liberalism? How does the way in which national identity is constructed and appropriated affect the trajectory of the political culture? Is it comparable at all to Scottish nationalism and the independence movement?

Bio:  I am a second year Sociology and Central and East European Studies student. My professional skills include being able to state my course name in full. I grew up mostly in China, where I developed a mysterious fondness for Soviet propaganda.

I am fascinated by how identity, specifically national identity, is used to mobilise a

group, and the ramifications of such a movement. I explore how political ideology becomes tied in with romantic notions about a nation’s past.


I am currently in the process of learning Lithuanian and Russian - I can just about say “Nešaudyk! Aš nesu rusų šnipė!” fast enough to make it useful. I plan to stay in academia and moonlight as a stand-up comedian-cum-tattoo artist.

Sven Maier
Philosophy and Politics - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
the Ethics of Drone Warfare

Abstract:  Due to the lack of a single governing body regulating armed drones, their use in the US-led War on Terror is subject to no legal constraints. This enables the US, and in theory any other state in possession of drone technology, to use them as it pleases without having to account for the (secret) way they use it.


While most scholars of war and many politicians justify drones by appeal to the criteria of Just War Theory, it becomes clear that current practices severely violate the same normative ethical principles they promise to uphold. While drones are, for instance, lauded as more discriminate than traditional bombs, the US in the WoT have widened the definition of terrorist so as to include military-aged males who are then legitimately targeted in signature-strikes. In sum, drone technology enables the possessor-state to redefine the moral rules of war as it pleases. With terrifying consequences.

Katerina Manoli
Philosophy and Psychology - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Blame Ambiguity in Self-Driving Car Malfunction

Abstract:  Self-driving cars are predicted to be commonplace within the next few years, as they promise to make transportation easier and more comfortable- but what happens when something goes wrong? This project addresses the “blame game” in self-driving car malfunction. The issue might seem twofold: it is either the owner or the car manufacturer who is at fault when an accident occurs. However, there is a third, unexplored option, in which responsibility lies with the vehicle itself (provided it is intelligent enough to make driving decisions).


This research aims to bridge the gap between human responsibility and robot agency in the context of automated vehicles, by challenging blame intuitions through practical, testable applications. Considering the complex liability issues that are going to arise when automated vehicles take over the streets, the study gives a possible answer to the unresolved question “who is to blame in a car that has no driver?”

Bio:  I’m pretty much a figurative zombie in that I’m immensely interested in brains in a non-carnivorous fashion. I’m fascinated by the overlap of Philosophy and Psychology, and particularly the possible mapping of abstract concepts like consciousness and free

will onto physical, “brainy” properties.


In addition to my studies, I work for the AI department of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in the Netherlands, researching anthropomorphism of unconscious objects, agency in human-robot interaction and the safe integration of AI into society.  


As a Greek living in Glasgow, I compensate for the heart-wrenching lack of sun through performance art, poetry, painting and photography. I’m also involved in the Effective Altruism movement, researching causes that have the biggest possible impact on areas like global poverty, animal rights and existential risk.


As I wish to further my studies in Cognitive Science and AI, I can promise that I won’t be responsible for the rise of robot overlords - or at least I’ll try not to be.

Maria Marinova
Molecular & Cellular Biology - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Extension of Healthy Life by Killing Off Senescent Cells

Abstract:  There has been a big increase in human lifespan observed in the last decades but no corresponding extension of healthspan, which results in a massive population of elderly people suffering from a vast range of diseases. Common factors to all age-related diseases are tissue degeneration and chronic inflammation. These morbid characteristics are largely considered to be caused by a specific type of aged cells that are genetically reprogrammed to release molecules inflicting damage on their neighbours. Induced by stress, they become resistant to cell death and stop dividing and producing new cells.


The clearance of these cells, called senescent cells, from tissues and organs has dramatic regenerative effects and leads to rejuvenation of physiological function and extension of healthspan in old animals. This intervention improves viability on molecular, cellular, tissue and organismal level in mice after chemotherapy and even normal ageing.


We are investigating whether pathfinder cell microvesicles, a unique class of extracellular vesicles, which are previously shown to have tissue regenerative effects, are able to kill off the senescent cells by activating cell death genes.

Bio:  A proud Slytherin, running on coffee and gin.

The pursuit for cutting edge science has brought me from Glasgow to California and back again, occasionally stopping by in Germany for a couple of months. I had a number of lab experiences ranging from evolutionary genomics and pharmacology to

biochemistry and structural biology in order to find a suitable area and avoid the existential crisis when I have to choose what to do with my life after I graduate. That didn't work out as intended but I am now set on doing a PhD in the anti-ageing field. This decision was inspired by my absolute terror of getting old.


I try to share my love for science because science is awesome (it's like magic but real). I volunteer in science communications and public engagement as a STEM ambassador and I'm involved with Girl Geeks and NHS Health Carers.


Apart from being a nerd, I am a freelance photographer, massive movie geek and dark chocolate enthusiast.

Catherine McKenna / Jack Bullon / Jason Eriksen
Chemistry - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Virtual Learning Environments

Abstract:  We are three Final Year Chemistry students investigating the impact of new Virtual Learning Environments on the Student Learning Experience. Together with the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, and Learning Science Ltd, Pre-lab online interactive simulations and post-lab auto-grading environments were developed.

We are currently leading evaluations of the impact these online resources have on the student learning experience. We have carefully developed a consistent methodology for data collection and for analysis. We have focussed on gathering feedback from students who have been supported with these online resources, and those who have not (for comparison). To present our findings we would use video demonstrations and graphical results from the investigation.

We hope that our final report can be used as a case study, to help demystify design and implementation of effective e-resources, to highlight considerations and challenges in the process, and ultimately to encourage uptake across disciplines.

Fatemeh Nokhbatolfoghahai / Rafa Abushaala / Emma Freij / Anilah Sadiq
Medicine - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Alcohol and Social Integration in Medical School

Abstract:  Drinking alcohol has been found to be commonplace amongst medical students across the globe, similar to the general student population. Studies have previously measured the rates of drinking in students, however very few have taken a qualitative approach similar to our study to uncover why alcohol has been found to feature so prominently in the lives of medical students. 

We found that alcohol in medical school is the central focus of many social programmes. Although the drinking culture is embraced by some students, others are isolated by it including younger/older students, religious students and those who are recovering from alcoholism. Niche groups are often formed as a result of this social exclusion.

In addition to the existing education about negative health consequences of drinking alcohol, education about the social consequences of the medical school “drinking culture” is warranted, as is further research to determine whether our findings are generalisable to other medical schools, other student bodies, and society at large. We need to understand the pressures and socialisation processes of students to understand drinking behaviour. Only then can we begin to create opportunities for change in relation to alcohol-driven social integration and isolation. 

Bio:  “It’s not what you do but who you do it with…”We are a group of 4th year medical students who had very little experience of research. However, after an inspiring lecture from a doctor who shared his personal story about recovery from alcoholism,

we started to wonder if the drinking culture he described at medical school still existed in this day and age. So, we decided we wanted to try our luck at some research.


The most rewarding part of doing qualitative research using focus groups was that we got people talking and reflecting on the culture surrounding alcohol in medical school.


We really weren’t sure what we were getting ourselves into, but it’s proved exciting and we’re looking forward to sharing our experience and results with you!

Kristina Pliopyte
History & Politics - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
The Construction of Modern Citizenship: A Source of Liberty and Empowerment, or a Means of Exclusion and Control?

Abstract:  Recent crises revolving around migration, multiculturalism and xenophobia could suggest that citizenship – a political concept that ought to ensure individual’s human, civic and political rights – has become the basis of exclusion and social fragmentation. However, looking at the construction of modern citizenship concept between 1750-1850 reveals that from its very inception, citizenship as a political status has been utilized to exclude and control marginalized groups of the society.


Looking at France, the US and Haiti from a historical perspective, this research is relevant to historians and non-specialists alike, as it adds depth to the perception of contemporary problems. Why is France so sensitive to cultural pluralism? What determines USA’s stance on migration? Why is Haiti so poor despite pioneering independence in Latin America?


Citizenship is an important topic today, because many people find themselves constrained on these grounds, and historical insight offers a useful lens to understanding this problem.


History is my everlasting fascination. I always thought that learning about the past is key to a better understanding of who we are and where we come from. Therefore, whatever your interests might be, history can aid in making sense of the world around us. That is the beauty of history’s interdisciplinarity. 

The past four years of university have offered me some amazing opportunities, most notably, an exchange year in the University of Toronto, where I got interested in Caribbean history, and an Erasmus+ training course in France, focused on the topic of migration. These experiences motivate me to seek an academic career, and also influenced the choice of this research topic.


Aside from university life, I love to explore the world by dancing and traveling. I believe that each person met along the way can teach us something, and enrich our personalities if we only open our minds. Volunteering in Glasgow’s 4water society has certainly been a case in point

Matthew Staitis
Earth Science - 2nd Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Palaeontology in the Contemporary World

Abstract:  My research project examined an association of fossil shelled animals (brachiopods) from Oriel Brook in eastern Ireland, known as ‘The Foliomena fauna’. They lived ~446 million years ago [Late Katian stage of the Upper Ordovician Period].

I identified several brachiopods and for the first time, discovered four genera previously undocumented from Oriel Brook. A faunal list was compiled and statistically compared to other Foliomena faunas found globally using PAST [PAlaeontological Statistics]. From this analysis, the fauna was placed on a relative water depth spectrum. This along with their palaeogeographic significance, allowed me to determine where on the globe this fauna inhabited.

Here, I hope to demonstrate that there’s more to Palaeontology than just digging up dinosaurs. That invertebrate fossils are vitally important ‘tools’, allowing us to open a window into the deep past and correlate a global story. That in an ever-changing contemporary world, Palaeontology continues to be useful.

Eva Szilagyi-Nagy
Neuroscience - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
the Effects of Opioid Painkillers on Newborns

Abstract:  The preBötzinger Complex, a small part of the brain, was found to be responsible for the generation of automatic rhythmic breathing. My study investigated the adverse effects of early fentanyl exposure on the development of the preBötzinger Complex during the first 5 days after birth and its long-term effects on breathing in mice.


Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller that is often given to mothers during child-birth. Some cases reported that maternal fentanyl use caused reduced breathing in new-borns. It is known that opioids decrease the activity of the preBötzinger Complex but its long-term effects have not been investigated.


The results of my study provided evidence that early fentanyl exposure can have long-term detrimental effects on newborns that could increase the risk of several disorders. This talk might change your mind about the use of opioid pain relief in labour.

Bio:  I am a fourth-year Neuroscience student born in Hungary. I am presenting my final year honours project at the Let’s Talk About X as I believe the results are incredibly fascinating and are relevant to everyone’s lives. I am a huge fan of how our body

works and how we can improve our physical and mental health. Hence, I am planning to study medicine in the future and take part in clinical research.

Although, my career is my passion I enjoy my artistic side on an everyday basis. I love singing, dancing and going to art galleries. I took up two new hobbies this year too. I am learning to play the guitar and tennis. Furthermore, I am going to run the half marathon this May to support the McMillan cancer trust. Altogether, I am keen on learning and experiencing new things.

Erika Trabold
Biochemistry - 4th Year
Why More People Should Be Interested in
Adenoviral Vectors in Cardiovascular Gene Therapy

Abstract:  Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, alongside stroke. Adenoviral vectors - engineered non-replicative forms of adenovirus – are the most frequent delivery vehicles employed in clinical gene therapy trials to treat the disease. But there are drawbacks to the vector used: It is based on common adenovirus 5, which many people are already immune to, leading to rejection and inflammation upon administration.


Rare forms of adenoviruses therefore hold potential as alternatives in this treatment, but to implement them effectively we first need to understand how they get into cells.


Different forms use different cellular receptors to bind host cells. My research therefore focused on identifying the receptors for one such rare adenovirus: I treated cells expressing certain receptors with a GFP- or luciferase-recombinant version of it, measuring emitted fluorescence or bioluminescence if the virus was internalised. The results can lead to developing novel targeting strategies in gene therapy.

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