Blog posts

Moss balls and marbling

Imperial College London is committed to sharing the wonder and excitement of the science that we do. So it is part of the Great Exhibition Road Festival every June, a two-day science and art party for all ages! In 2022, the theme was trailblazers. Imperial worked alongside some of the great museums and institutes in the Albertopolis to deliver talks, workshops, performances and activities. And of course IMSE was there as well!

Joao Cabral and Liva Donina grinning in front of the poster for the marbling activity at the 2022 Great Exhibition Road Festival
Joao Cabral and Liva Donina at the 2022 Great Exhibition Road Festival


Designing sponges to deliver clean water

According to the UN, 2.4 billion people do not currently have access to basic clean water and sanitation, and each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases. Meanwhile, pollution from fertilizers, oil spills and human waste contaminate rivers, lakes and oceans.  More than 80 percent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or seas without any treatment to remove hazardous contaminants (Figure 1).

Untreated sewage being discharged
Figure 1. Untreated sewage being discharged into the environment

Given the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 of delivering access to water and sanitation for all, how can new materials be deployed to help? Pavani Cherukupally is working on developing low-cost sponges which can remove pollutants from water.

Read more about her work

Molecular mental health 3 – Diagnostic tools  

For most physical illnesses, there are objective tests to determine what a patient’s issue is. Currently, diagnosis of mental health conditions is more subjective, as it relies on patient’s descriptions of their own symptoms. What if digital tools could identify biomarkers which were clearly linked to specific mental illnesses?

Find out more

Molecular mental health 1 – Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health illnesses, affecting 264 million and 284 million people worldwide, respectively – equivalent to 3.4% and 3.8% of the global population. However, it’s thought that many cases are unreported – the real figures are expected to be double what is recorded. What’s going on at a molecular level in the brain during depression and anxiety? How does medication change this? 

Find out more

How can molecular science help to understand mental health?

Mental health is the sum of our psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. Combined, these help us cope with life’s difficulties. Yet a worryingly substantial proportion of the population will suffer from poor mental health at some point in their lives. This is the first in a series of blogs exploring the molecular basis of mental health, and how a molecular perspective can help develop new treatments.

Find out more