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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Most of us take an effort teaching the next generation of scientists by supervising for different subjects such as Biophysics and Biotechnology to Engineers. As a group, we are also very interested in communicating not only our own research to the public in general and students in particular, but we also love to promote all the sciences wherever we can. A few of the projects that lab members have been involved in are summarised below.

Dr Colin Hockings' picture of neurons has been selected as a finalist for the Hughes Hall Postdoctoral Group inaugural Research Photography Exhibition. The picture, which was selected from the many entrants of the competition, shows an interconnected crowd of brain cells. Each cell has a nucleus and forms hundreds of connections with other cells to transmit information through the system. Microtubules were labelled in orange, nuclei in cyan, and dying or dead nuclei in purple.

Dr Amberley Stephens took part in ‘So you want to be a scientist?’ in March 2018 as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. She spoke to 170 14 years olds from schools around Cambridge, inspiring them about life as a scientist and what GCSE and A-Level options to take to become a scientist. She gave a demonstration of the rainbow reaction mixing acid and base and watching the reaction using universal indicator.

The Cambridge Science Festival provides the public with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of scientific interest and concern and to raise aspirations by encouraging young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Each year, the Festival welcomes visitors to hundreds of events and receives extensive national and local media coverage. Over 170 event coordinators organise talks, interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities, film showings and debates with the assistance of around 1,000 staff and students from departments and organisations across the University and research institutions, charities and industry in the eastern region. In addition, over 150 people volunteer their time to act as stewards to ensure visitors have a safe and enjoyable Festival experience. 

Miranda Robbins, a PhD student in the group, helped with Park Run for Alzheimer's Research UK to promote awareness to runners in Milton Country Park, Cambridge (2017).

Philippa Hooper, a PhD student of our group, took part in a demonstration to primary aged children and their parents about graphene (2017). She explained in lay-men’s terms her research into Graphene-based multi-electrode arrays to the public General Public. 

Dr Ajay Mishra and Dr Meng Lu talked to primary school children in Guangzhou (China) about the importance of Science and Research.

In 2016 Dr. Gabriele Kaminski Schierle, Prof. Clemens Kaminski, Dr. Colin Hockings, Florian Ströhl, Nathan Curry participated in “Episode of Elemental Ideas” on Cambridge TV, a 25 Minute TV show about the application of super-resolution microscopy in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. They explained research to the public through a video of our groups' lab and research work, with interviews of the two group leaders and several postdoctoral research associates and PhD students. The videos can be accessed for free online. Elemental Ideas is Cambridge TV’s science magazine programme. They’ve produced more than 50 programmes since August 2015, covering research topics including string theory, diabetes, exoplanets, vulcanology, epigenetics and the wildlife of New Zealand.

In September 2017 Molecular Neuroscience Group members Amberley Stephens, Nadya Nespovitaya, Ajay Mishra, and Miranda Robbins, along with the Laser Analytics Group members Nathan Curry and Pedro Vallejo Ramirez participated in the annual Chariots of Fire relay race. This year’s charity was Alzheimer’s Research UK and we raised £290 to support a vital project at the University of Cambridge exploring why people with Down's syndrome develop Alzheimer's.  The race course is 1.6 miles long and crossed the city centre, along with Trinity, King's, and Clare college. Although it was a cold foggy morning our team finished in 1 hr 12.5 mins, coming 32nd out of 215 mixed teams and 87th out of 333 overall.

Dr. Gabriele Kaminski Schierle gave an invited talk at the University of Sussex on Women in Science.

Philippa Hooper was the first female student at the EPSRC-funded CDT in Graphene.