Surgery and Cancer at the Imperial Festival

Festival 15

Surgery and Cancer were doing their bit at the Imperial College Festival this weekend and getting involved with everything going on.

The Institute of Global Health Innovation were there with a stand called “Taking mental health into your own Dancehands” which featured the Psychiatrist’s Couch of the Future and an over sized chair. Computational Systems medicine had a stand on “What’s in your pee” looking at how urine can help doctors find out how well your body is working.

The Combination Dance Co were there to raise awareness about Cancer research UK with their dancing cell components all across the campus over the weekend. Members of the Cancer team were hosting a stand called Tackling tough tumours looking at why some tumours become resistant to treatment and how scientists tackle this growing problem, with their very own #cellfie station to see a cancer up close.

Prof Gerry Thomas gave a lecture entitled “Doctors, what do you want to do with my genes” and was later spotted at the talkeoke table taking part in discussions on “What do you think about nuclear energy?”

Prof Roger Kneebone gave a talk with Prof Aaron Williamon on “Solving stage fright in virtual reality“.

Festival 1Lata Govada, Sean Kassen, Ahmad Bin Razmi and Naomi Chayen had a stand entitled ‘Making Complexity Crystal Clear’, highlighting the importance of protein crystals and their role in the facilitation of drug design. With the aid of the mRNA codon chart on display, the visitors were able to synthesise amino acids, the building blocks of proteins from sweeties. People of all ages and walks of life enthusiastically participated in ‘kebabing’ the 3 different coloured sweets (the nucleotide triplets) on cocktail sticks, after which they were allowed to take them away to eat.

Armed with the information of how proteins are made they then moved on to the second part of the booth to set up protein crystallization experiments with real protein and watched the crystals grow under the microscope. The young and old alike were pleased to see the crystal formation from their experiments. A surprised adult visitor stated, ‘I have a fair understanding of mineral crystals and their importance but had no clue that Protein Crystals contained such a wealth of information!’ On the other hand a young 9 year old visitor who aspires to be a doctor exclaimed ‘Wow, now I understand why we use the phrase Crystal Clear! ‘

To see more from the Festival check out #impfest or the College news story.

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