Institute scientists take their research to Parliament

Institute scientists take their research to Parliament

Institute scientists take their research to Parliament

Two of the Institute’s researchers, Dr Edward Carr, an academic clinical fellow at the Institute and a junior doctor at Addenbrooke’s hospital, and Dr Biola-Maria Javierre, a postdoctoral researcher, are attending Parliament to present their bioscience research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the SET for Britain poster competition on Monday 7th March.

Edward’s and Biola’s posters will present the latest in their respective research fields and will be judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind. Both applications were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament.

Edward’s poster will present his work investigating the factors that shape the human immune system, which forms part of the Institute’s immunology research. This work received widespread coverage recently on publication of the research in the journal Nature Immunology which found that raising a child has a bigger effect on the immune system than the seasonal ‘flu vaccine or gastroenteritis.

On presenting his research in Parliament, he said: “It is a pleasure to be a part of SET for Britain.  I look forward to explaining our work to Parlimentarians and peers alike”.

Biola’s poster will explain her work on a method used to pinpoint the physical interactions occurring in the genome, which is a part of the Institute’s Nuclear Dynamics research programme. This new technique sheds light on how DNA sequence changes in non-coding parts of the genome affect gene regulation. Understanding these associations represents the key to uncovering the causal factors of genetic diseases, including autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

On reflecting on the opportunity offered by participating in the event, Biola said: “I’m delighted to be taking part and to have the opportunity to share this exciting research with everyone attending the event. I’m looking forward to discussing how our research is changing what we know about the genetic basis of disease.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Edward’s and Biola’s research has been entered into the Biological and Biomedical Sciences session of the competition at 6.15pm – 8.30pm on 7th March, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony. Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives £3,000, while silver and bronze receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively. There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal.

The SET for Britain event is run by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from Essar, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), the Institute of Biomedical Science, the Bank of England and the Society of Chemical Industry.

Related content:

Raising a child has a bigger effect on the immune system than the flu vaccine or gastroenteritis
Radio 4 interview with Michelle Linterman, research group leader, on the Today programme (16/02/16, from 45.07 onwards)
Novel insights into genetic cause of autoimmune diseases