Hi everyone! In January I began working on my final year project. In this blog post we will peek into a real neuroscience laboratory, check out the quirky equipment inside and I will share some details about experiments I do every day.
A bit of background
My project is about alpha-synucleinopathies, which are conditions where a protein called alpha synuclein (ASYN) is mutated and forms toxic “clumps” in the brain. Examples of alpha-synucleinopathies are Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Working with poo turned out to be exactly the summer experience I wanted!
I worked at the national Cryptosporidium Reference Unit (CRU) at Public Health Wales in Swansea with Professor Rachel Chalmers and her team. I received a Scholarship from the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) for this placement, writing the application together with Rachel.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes diarrhoea, is found globally
and is typically passed from animals, other people, food and fresh water
sources. It is currently a human health issue due to the significant effect it
has in developing countries and the lack of specific treatments to fight the
parasite. Quite often how well you recover from the illness depends on how
healthy you were to begin with!
That’s how I would describe my experience transitioning to Newcastle University from NUMed. Life is pretty similar; people are friendly, the teaching is amazing, the city is as beautiful as home. The only difference is that these things are all bigger, bolder, and brighter here in the U.K. And I’m definitely not complaining!
The move from Malaysia was definitely a tough one. I grew up in Penang, an island just northwest off mainland Malaysia, and this was the only home I’d known. Moving 10-hours away to Johor to start my degree in Biomedical Sciences was scary enough, but NUMed turned to be a home away from home. We’re such a small, tight-knitted community, and on campus we could bond in ways students in a larger university wouldn’t be able to.
“Choosing to begin my studies at NUMed has been the best decision I’ve ever made!”
Going abroad may be a week’s holiday, or to some it’s going global or for longer, but have you ever thought about studying abroad as part of your Newcastle University degree? You could study abroad for a few weeks or up to an entire year, and it could change your perspective forever.
‘I can honestly say it was the best time of my life’– Eleanor (semester at Monash University, Melbourne)
By Ruth Harding, second year Biomedical Science student
I had a difficult time at home before I started at Newcastle university and I found that I was struggling to cope at points during my first year.
These are my top 5 tips to help improve your mental health while at university based on my personal experiences:
1. Access support
There is plenty of support available at uni, the first thing to do when you feel you are experiencing difficulties is to access the support that is available to you as soon as you possibly can.
I found the transition from sixth form to university to be a challenge especially when I was battling poor mental health at the same time. The university support I found to be the most helpful was my personal tutor and the student services team (student wellbeing). There is also an online CBT programme available to all Newcastle students here. There are also useful links and tips on the Ncl wellbeing app.
As well as university support I encourage you to build a wider network, I do not think I would have got through the year without the support of my friends, and family.
By Charlotte Ripley – Food and Human Nutrition Student
A trip to Italy?! Yes please!
In June, I attended a Food and Health Summer School in Italy, mixing with students from the University of Padova and the University of Sydney.
The focus was on the effects of different food components on overall health and well-being, with topics ranging from the effect of soil on the micronutrient content of foods to the worldwide issue of obesity – so the week was specifically aimed at those with a medical or food science background. Thankfully, everything was taught in English, as even Duolingo wouldn’t have prepared me for terms such as ‘squalene’, ‘fetotoxic’ or ‘teratogenicity’.
Though the week was primarily lecture based, we visited 2 different food producers (Grandi Molini Italiani – one of Europe’s largest flour mills – and Prosciuttificio Attilio Fontana Montagnana – a family-run prosciutto factory) and got to see some of Padova’s biggest attractions (Orto Botanica, Palazzo Bo and the Museum of History and Medicine). We even had our very own gala dinner to celebrate the end of the summer school – luckily, the lectures didn’t quite put me off the free wine on the tables.