Category Archives: 2016

Radon Zone Report – November 2016

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The Radon Zone as a general zone specifically for Primary schools and was funded by Wellcome. Réka (the winner of this zone) studies genetics to find out how our DNA makes us look like our relatives, Pip is a paediatrics doctor and Kuntal is studying how climate change will affect crop growth to improve ways of growing rice. Kate is a medical physicist who uses x-rays to treat cancer and Ajay studies how skin changes throughout our life in order to learn more about diseases like skin cancer.

The Radon Zone was extremely busy, with over 3,000 questions asked – the most out of all the zones in this event and over four times the historic average. In the ASK section, the scientists provided an extremely high number of answers (777), and students left a much higher than average number of comments in reply (191). Réka made up over half of all scientist activity in both ASK and the live chats, and attended every chat session.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Polonium Zone Report – November 2016

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The Polonium Zone was a general science zone funded by Wellcome. Peter is a PhD student studying black holes, Miranda, who was the winner of this zone, researches bumblebees and writes computer programs modelling possible future extinction events and Lucy works in muscle metabolism researching whether a particular vitamin makes our muscles healthier. Jack is a doctor who is trying to identify which medical tests and treatments don’t work and Huma is a research fellow using the Turing test to find out if humans can tell whether they are talking to another human or a robot.

This zone was one of the busiest in this event, with a higher than average number of questions asked from students, and answers by scientists. Peter was particularly active in the ASK section. Live chats were also very busy, with a high total number of live chat lines, over half of which were made up by zone winner Miranda.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Astatine Zone Report – November 2016

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This is a general science zone funded by Wellcome, involving five scientists working in a variety of areas. Sam is a radiation scientist who looks at how to keep people safe if there was an accident involving radiation, Ellie investigates causes of diseases such as heart attacks and Darren, who was the winner of this zone, researches human consciousness and is currently working on how to get robots to have a sense of time. Catherine works in a blood transfusion laboratory providing blood products to hospitals and Andres is a PhD student studying the connections between neutrinos and dark matter.
Students engaged well with the scientists’ individual research areas, resulting in diverse live chats and interesting conversations between scientists and students.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Sports Science Zone Report – November 2016

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The Sports Science Zone was a themed zone funded by The Physiological Society, and included four scientists and three professional athletes.  Laura-Anne, the winner of the zone, researches how our muscles work in order to help people faster and stronger, Katy studies the body temperature of athletes with a spinal cord injury to help keep them cool during exercise, Helen is working on ways to stop athletes getting sick before a competition and Dan is a former Paralympian who is now a lecturer in exercise physiology.

We recruited three athletes to take part in the zone. Stephanie is a Paralympic swimmer who won five medals in Rio 2016, Emilia is currently training for sprint canoeing hoping to make the team for Tokyo 2020 and Andrew is an Olympic swimmer who also competed in Rio 2016.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Physiological Society, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Plants Zone Report – November 2016

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The Plants Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Zarah, who was the winner in this zone, is an invasion ecologist who studies alien plants and how they can affect native plants in the UK, Kon is a PhD student teaching bacteria how to find and eat sugars from plants and Kirsten is researching why vegetables are good for us. Jena is an archaeologist who studies how people used plants in the past and Freddie is researching how to use molecules to make plants grow bigger and healthier.

All of the scientists were active within the ASK sections and live chats. Jena provided just under half of all 243 answers from the scientists, and between them Zarah and Kon made up over half of all live chat lines by scientists.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Energy Zone Report – November 2016

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This zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Olivia, Mzamo and Megan were members. Weiyi is a PhD student researching biofuels, Olivia is researching materials that can be used for more sustainable energy sources, Ola is looking at ways to save more energy, food and water and Mzamo is a lecturer in bio-renewable energy and based in South Africa. Megan, who was the winner of this zone, researches how waste uranium could help carry out reactions and reduce waste from nuclear energy.

Megan and Ola were particularly engaging within the live chats, both showing up to almost all sessions. Within the chats and ASK there were some fairly serious discussions on topics such as global warming and nuclear power with students showing a lot of interest in how scientists are working to save energy in the future.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Investigation Zone Report – November 2016

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This zone was funded by Wellcome and is a general science zone for Primary Schools, which focusses on how scientists work. People doing scientific research need to use a range of investigative skills, many of which are used in science lessons at school. The five scientists in this zone use identifying, observation, classifying, testing or pattern spotting skills in their research. We hoped that from talking to the scientists, students would be able to find out the similar things they do in school that the scientists do in their jobs.

Sophie (identifying) studies animal behaviour to try and understand how humans are changing the natural environment, Sarah (observation) works on radiation protection and Michael (classifying) is an archaeologist who looks at bones to learn about how people lived ten thousand years ago. Marisol (testing) looks at a parasite of dogs to try and prevent it spreading to other species and Lauren (pattern spotting) researches how storms are changing our coastline. Lauren was the winner of this zone.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Drug Discovery Zone Report – November 2016

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This was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Steve, Hannah and Eleni were members. Steve, the winner of the zone, is a PhD student making new anti-cancer drugs from sugars, Oli studies bacteria which can become resistant to viruses in order to use them in replace of antibiotics and Jenny develops drugs for diseases like cancer and diabetes. Hannah makes drugs for the parasitic tropical disease leishmaniasis and Eleni is a PhD student finding antibiotics from rare sources like fungus growing ants.

All of the scientists in the zone were engaging and provided detailed and accessible answers, with Steve and Hannah making up well over half of all answers and lines of live chat.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Brain Zone Report – November 2016

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The Brain Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Ria is researching why some people get dementia while others don’t, Rachel is a neuroscientist who studies human brain tissue to help find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and Joe, the winner of this zone, is looking at how children’s brains work and why some find school more difficult than others. Iroise studies the brain and behaviour of adults and adolescents and Adrian is researching ‘brain-eating’ bacteria to help combat infectious diseases.

All the scientists in this zone were active in both the live chats and ASK section with lots of interest from the students about the zone theme. There were lots of lively, on-topic discussions about the scientists’ research and the brain in general, with students often commenting about how much they had learnt.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Bismuth Zone Report – June 2016

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The Bismuth Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and included five scientists working in different areas. Thomas works in Nuclear Medicine and uses radioactive substances to look at how our bodies work, Rupesh is a research fellow who studies why plant roots grow down and shoots always grow up, Hazel works as an Application Scientist at an engineering company which makes microscopes, Elliot makes mutants to try and work out why our muscles grow when we use them, and Ellen specialises in designing and analysing shielding against gamma radiation.

The scientists in this zone were very engaging and good at communicating their work with their students, particularly Thomas and Elliot, who took part in most of the live chats and answered a large amount of questions.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Lead Zone Report – June 2016

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This zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Stuart works for the NHS and looks at the DNA of people in hospital to work out why they are ill, Rob is a Teaching Fellow who uses maths to investigate how cells work, Maheen is a PhD student who uses brain imaging to understand how babies brains develop, Euan works with lasers and is trying to build a quantum computer from particles of light, and Deborah analyses food samples to see if they are genuine or counterfeit. The zone had a higher than average number of questions approved and the highest number of comments compared to all the other zones in June’s event

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Thallium Zone Report – June 2016

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The Thallium Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Sian works for the Food Standards Agency working with data to make sure food is safe to eat, Dawn is a cell biologist who grows brain cells and researches the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, David is a physicist who researches gravitational waves, Dan works at GSK testing drugs of the future and Christie is a PhD student researching how proteins work in the mitochondria. This zone was very busy, with a higher than average amount of questions approved. There was an even spread of answers by scientists in the ASK section, and Dawn, who won the zone, made up almost half of all live chat by scientists throughout the event.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Mercury Zone Report – June 2016

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The Mercury Zone was a general Primary School zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Waqar, Melissa and Angus were members. Waqar researches how to find out if someone has an infection by studying their breath, Melissa is an environmental scientist looking at how explosives travel through the ground and the effect the chemicals can have on the environment and Jenni researches how our brains understand the words they hear and read, in order to help children with learning difficulties. Catherine is a cardiac scientist who uses ultrasound to examine people’s hearts and Angus is a PhD student who researches what makes stainless steels rust in order to know what we can use them for. The zone received diverse questions, but was quiet compared to the average number of questions in June’s event.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Antibiotics Zone Report – June 2016

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The Antibiotics Zone was funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Lindsay and Jonny are members, with additional funding from the Biochemical Society Diversity Grant. Danna is a Research Associate who studies how bacteria evolve, Lindsay is a chemist working to improve compounds to better target diseases and Juan researches how our bodies fight off threatening microbes. Jonny is a PhD student working to make medicines in more environmentally friendly ways and Daniela is a PhD student who modifies the DNA of viruses.

All five scientists took an active role in the event, answering a similar number of questions and attending many live chats even after being evicted. Some students from Jonny’s old college – Selby College – took part in the zone and were excited to have the opportunity to talk to him in a live chat.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Biochemical Society, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Parasites Zone Report – June 2016

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The Parasites Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Mark is an epidemiologist who is interested in removing parasitic infections that harm vulnerable populations, Linda is a PhD student who studies the malaria parasite, Koi (who won the zone) uses big data to understand the life of parasitic worms that live in human blood, Franco works on allergy and infectious diseases and Claire is an immunologist who researches parasitic infections and treatments.

All the scientists took an active role in both the ASK section and live chats and answered a similar amount of questions. The zone was largely on topic, with a majority of the focussed on parasites and the scientists’ work, but received the fewest amount of questions compared to the other zones in this event.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Ecosystems Zone Report – June 2016

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Ecosystems was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and was a zone specifically for Primary Schools. Vincent is a PhD student who uses maths to look at how species move within their environment, Luis researches the interaction between oil spills and marine sediments like beaches and the seabed and Joe is a biologist who studies animals with the aim of protecting them and educating people as to why we need nature. Joanna is a zoologist who studies how animals interact with their environment and Hannah researches animals that live on our sea shores and makes sure they are protected.

All the scientists were very good at adapting their answers and describing their work in ways to engage younger students, and the live chats were lively and fun. This was a quiet zone with a lower than average number of questions approved and live chats booked.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Cells Zone Report – June 2016

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The Cells Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and included five scientists whose work relates to cells in different ways. Sam uses polymers and proteins to research how cells evolve, Rob works in a cancer hospital using radiotherapy to treat cancer cells and Matt grows brain cells in order to study brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Kylie studies white blood cells in the lungs to try and find out what happens to them when someone has lung disease, and Rebecca is a structural biologist who uses electron microscopes to study cells and proteins within them.

This was a busy zone with a high amount of questions in ASK and some engaging live chats which focused on the topic of cells, as well as other aspects of the scientists’ work and science in general.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Catalysis Zone Report – June 2016

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The Catalysis Zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Ruth, Rob, Laura and John were members. Ruth is a PhD student who creates new molecules to see what happens when they react, Rob works for a pharmaceutical company where he ensures chemicals are mixed in the right way and Luke is researching how to make medicines and other chemicals from a bacteria found in a compost heaps. Laura researches how sunlight can be used on reactions to use less fossil fuels within chemistry, and John is a lecturer who teaches organic chemistry and researches how to create new catalysts. This zone had the highest percentage of active students out of all the zones in the June event.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Toxicology Zone Report – March 2016

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The Toxicology Zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Richard, Anais and Katy were members. Stuart works as a chemist making hazardous waste safe to handle, Richard devises methods for testing medicines, Lauren studies how pollutants can be toxic to fish, Katy is a Teaching and Research Assistant studying drugs of abuse and Anais is researching how fatty acids get inside cells.

The zone was busy, with an above average number of questions approved and answers from the scientists. Students showed a lot of interest in the scientists’ individual areas of work with lots of questions for Lauren about fish and Katy about drugs, for example.  All the scientists engaged well throughout the event with Lauren, the winner of the zone, and Stuart, who came second, accounting for over half of all scientist activity within ASK and the live chats.

Posted on April 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Platinum Zone Report – March 2016

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The Platinum Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Daniel works with Embryonic Stem Cells and is funded by the organisation. Lowri studies people’s behaviour in relation to energy consumption, Greg is a doctor who researches how we can prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes, Kelly is an Intellectual Property Analyst for a chemical company and Giovanna is an experimental physicist who works with tiny electrical circuits.

The zone was quite busy throughout the two weeks, with a higher than average amount of live chats (22) compared to the rest of the zones in this event. There was an even spread of activity within the live chats from the scientists, and in the ASK section Lowri, the winner of the zone, accounted for 42% of all activity by scientists

Posted on April 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment