Introduction to Science – Lab Tour

Students enrolled on one of Imperials evening classes entitled Introduction to Science (ItS) course visited the main analytical facility at South Kensington last week to hear how and why researchers in Computational Systems Medicine use high-resolution spectroscopic techniques in their research. The Introduction to Science course is one of the many evening classes run at Imperial by the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, and attracts a range of non-specialist adult learners with a keen interest in science.

Lecturer Dr Toby Athersuch gave the class a short tutorial on the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and chromatography, and how these can be used to interrogate complex biofluids and understand their composition. Along with CSM PhD students Liza Selley and Torben Kimhofer, the enthusiastic visitors were given a flavour for how these analytical platforms are used in our basic scientific research, as well as some clinical and epidemiological applications.

The discussions touched on several key areas including approaches for structural elucidation of unknown compounds, current applications for real-time monitoring in surgery, and the challenge of analysing the megavariate dataset they generate. Course Leader, Dr David Stokes said that feedback on the evening had been very positive:

“The visit was great, the class was really inspired and a lot of the rest of the class was spent talking through what we’d seen …. we all really enjoyed it (myself included!). It was the best visit yet!”

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