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MRC talks

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MRC talks

MRC talks

The MRC

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MRC talks is a podcast from the Medical Research Council, bringing you stories from inspiring scientists working to improve lives through medical research. Tune in to our seven-part 2019 career inspirations series to find out how our scientists got to where they are and what makes them tick. Part of UK Research and Innovation, we've been funding research dedicated to improving human health since 1913. More at https://mrc.ukri.org.

Latest Episodes

Career inspirations: Chris Ponting, computational biologist

Professor Chris Ponting, computational biologist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. Chris gave up biology at the age of 16 to focus on physics. But after finishing his Masters, he changed his mind and decided to follow his gut instinct – going back into biology via a degree in biophysics. He then specialised in bioinformatics and genomics. Chris and his team are looking at ways to improve human health, and find new ways to treat disease, by looking at how single letter changes in our DNA affect our disease risk. At the intersection between population scale and molecular data, Chris leads a fellow’s programme, training people with PhDs in physics, maths, statistics and engineering, to work on biological puzzles. In this episode, he explains how by bringing people together with different skills and perspectives, he hopes to change biology and medicine for the better – while also enriching people’s careers. View the transcript: https://mrc.io/2RWanFO Producer: Isabel Harding Presen...

21 MIN2019 JUL 3
Comments
Career inspirations: Chris Ponting, computational biologist

Career inspirations: Caroline Relton, population health scientist

Caroline Relton, population health scientist, is interviewed by Debs Barber. Today she’s a highly-respected scientist and research group leader, but Caroline first set off down another career path. Caroline’s love of science led her to study for a degree in applied biology and nutritional science, followed by the pursuit of a different passion – teaching. Ultimately, after completing her PGCE and teaching in a secondary school for five years, she decided that academia was her true calling and returned to university to do a PhD in molecular genetics. Caroline and her research group use the tools and methods of population-based research for understanding the role of epigenetics – changes to the way genes are read by cells – in health and disease. In this episode, she shares how educating teenagers equipped her with valuable skills as a scientist, her tips on forging a successful career and why she believes in a whole team approach to science. View the transcript: https://mrc.io/2...

14 MIN2019 JUN 5
Comments
Career inspirations: Caroline Relton, population health scientist

Career inspirations: Toby Jenkins, biophysical chemist

Toby Jenkins, biophysical chemist, is interviewed by Petra Kiviniemi. Professor Toby Jenkins is fascinated by bacterial and fungal infection of humans, particularly wounds and bladders. When beginning his research, he’d assumed that all clinicians and microbiologists understood what was happening in an infected wound. But the more he drilled into the subject, the more he realised how little we understand about infection. Using his love of building things and science, he’s creating materials and medical devices that detect infection. He’s also designing systems that can control the release of drugs to combat disease. His interdisciplinary team consists of material scientists, engineers, chemists and microbiologists. They work closely with clinicians, including the burns team at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Together, they’ve been developing an advanced wound dressing that glows under UV light if the wound is infected. Here Toby tells us about the importance of teaching...

17 MIN2019 MAY 8
Comments
Career inspirations: Toby Jenkins, biophysical chemist

Career inspirations: Mark Skehel, technology specialist

Mark Skehel, technology specialist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. A born scientist – thanks to his father’s influence – Mark has a job that allows him to play with big bits of equipment, as well as do his own biomedical research. His high-tech instruments help fellow scientists identify proteins from complex biological mixtures. ‘Mass spectrometry’ – or ‘mass spec’ for short – is a sensitive technique used to detect, identify and measure molecules based on their mass-to-charge ratio. Studying our biology at a molecular level helps scientists understand how our bodies work when healthy, what goes wrong in disease, and how we might fix disease pathways. His attitude of “Don’t be afraid of change – embrace it!” has served him well. By moving between industry and academia, he’s learnt transferable skills allowing him to help solve difficult biological problems. His experience proves that you can move around and change paths at any point in your career. Find out more ab...

24 MIN2019 APR 4
Comments
Career inspirations: Mark Skehel, technology specialist

Career inspirations: Fiona Watt, stem cell scientist

Fiona Watt, stem cell scientist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. Fiona’s love of animals led her to study zoology at the University of Cambridge, where she discovered the topic she’s dedicated her career to studying: cell biology. Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King's College London, Fiona is fascinated by stem cells – cells that give rise to all cell types in our bodies. She’s made important discoveries about their behaviour, including how the normal connections between skin cells go awry in cancer and skin disease. Inspired by combining her love of science with practical benefit, she wants to see cell therapies developed to help treat patients - including those affected by disfiguring scars that restrict movement. In her role as Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, Fiona leads on talent and skills. She’s committed to tackling gender issues in science and helping junior scientists progress in...

24 MIN2019 MAR 6
Comments
Career inspirations: Fiona Watt, stem cell scientist

Career inspirations: Nita Forouhi, nutrition scientist

Nita Forouhi, nutrition scientist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. Nita trained as a doctor, but while treating patients with diabetes she realised this wasn’t enough. She wanted to find out what causes diabetes and how to prevent it from happening in the first place. She looks at something that matters to us all but is notoriously hard to study: the food we eat and how it affects our health. Inspired by studying the diets and biology of large populations, she’s shown how sugary drinks and specific types of dietary fat can increase our risk of disease. An advocate for good, solid evidence – and a passionate champion for equality, diversity and inclusion in science – she hopes that one day she’ll be able to give people personalised nutrition advice. Find out more about Nita’s work: mrc.ukri.org/blog View the transcript: mrc.io/2C5aHve Producer and presenter: Isabel Harding Producer and editor: Hasina Sacranie Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Lice...

30 MIN2019 FEB 6
Comments
Career inspirations: Nita Forouhi, nutrition scientist

Career inspirations: Daniel Freeman, clinical psychologist

Daniel Freeman, clinical psychologist, is interviewed by Debs Barber. Daniel studied natural sciences at university but then discovered his passion for psychology. Working in mental health services in the NHS he spent a lot of time listening to the experiences of his patients. This inspired him to try and understand what causes mental health disorders, to develop better treatments. Now a world pioneer in using virtual reality (VR) technology, Daniel thinks it has the potential to change mental health treatment in the future. Over the past 15 years he’s worked with interdisciplinary teams of researchers and game designers to create virtual environments which help patients experiencing delusions cope better with challenging situations in their day to day lives. In a new study he’s testing automated VR treatment for psychosis, with the hope of enabling state-of-the-art VR therapy for mental health issues to be delivered by the NHS. Find out more about Daniel’s MRC-funded THRIVE stud...

15 MIN2019 JAN 9
Comments
Career inspirations: Daniel Freeman, clinical psychologist

MRC talks episode 13: Max Perutz Award science writing tips

Our Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2018 is open. To help entrants, in this episode we speak to last year's winner and runners up for hints and tips on science writing. This year's competition closes on 4 July 2018. See details of the competition at: https://mrc.ukri.org/maxperutz/ Episode transcript here: https://mrc.ukri.org/documents/pdf/episode-13-max-pertuz-award-science-writing-tips-transcript/ Produced by Isabel Harding and Hasina Sacranie, and edited by Hasina Sacranie. Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under CC BY 4.0.

10 MIN2018 MAY 30
Comments
MRC talks episode 13: Max Perutz Award science writing tips

MRC talks episode 12: Sandra Bucci’s app helping people with psychosis

We bring you the second of two episodes highlighting research helping young people affected by poor mental health. One of the ways MRC-funded researchers are doing this, is through the use of digital technology. Scientists from the University of Manchester have developed a smartphone app to help people with psychosis. Hasina Sacranie talks to clinical psychologist and Senior Lecturer Dr Sandra Bucci about how she and her team developed the app. Read the updated MRC Strategy for Lifelong Mental Health Research on our website: mrc.ukri.org/mentalhealth Read more on our blog: www.insight.mrc.ac.uk/2017/08/14/connecting-with-help/ Produced by Isabel Harding and Hasina Sacranie, and edited by Hasina Sacranie. Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under CC BY 4.0.

9 MIN2018 MAY 15
Comments
MRC talks episode 12: Sandra Bucci’s app helping people with psychosis

MRC talks episode 11: Alan Stein's global mental health research

We bring you the first of two episodes highlighting research helping young people affected by poor mental health. Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Alan Stein is helping HIV-positive women with depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period. By improving their wellbeing he wants to help their children get the best start in life. He explains what his team has achieved so far in South Africa and the global implications of this work. Read the updated MRC Strategy for Lifelong Mental Health Research on our website: www.mrc.ac.uk/mentalhealth Read more on our blog: www.insight.mrc.ac.uk/2017/08/04/supporting-mothers-hiv-depression Produced by Isabel Baker and Hasina Sacranie, and edited by Hasina Sacranie. Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under CC BY 3.0

7 MIN2017 SEP 29
Comments
MRC talks episode 11: Alan Stein's global mental health research

Latest Episodes

Career inspirations: Chris Ponting, computational biologist

Professor Chris Ponting, computational biologist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. Chris gave up biology at the age of 16 to focus on physics. But after finishing his Masters, he changed his mind and decided to follow his gut instinct – going back into biology via a degree in biophysics. He then specialised in bioinformatics and genomics. Chris and his team are looking at ways to improve human health, and find new ways to treat disease, by looking at how single letter changes in our DNA affect our disease risk. At the intersection between population scale and molecular data, Chris leads a fellow’s programme, training people with PhDs in physics, maths, statistics and engineering, to work on biological puzzles. In this episode, he explains how by bringing people together with different skills and perspectives, he hopes to change biology and medicine for the better – while also enriching people’s careers. View the transcript: https://mrc.io/2RWanFO Producer: Isabel Harding Presen...

21 MIN2019 JUL 3
Comments
Career inspirations: Chris Ponting, computational biologist

Career inspirations: Caroline Relton, population health scientist

Caroline Relton, population health scientist, is interviewed by Debs Barber. Today she’s a highly-respected scientist and research group leader, but Caroline first set off down another career path. Caroline’s love of science led her to study for a degree in applied biology and nutritional science, followed by the pursuit of a different passion – teaching. Ultimately, after completing her PGCE and teaching in a secondary school for five years, she decided that academia was her true calling and returned to university to do a PhD in molecular genetics. Caroline and her research group use the tools and methods of population-based research for understanding the role of epigenetics – changes to the way genes are read by cells – in health and disease. In this episode, she shares how educating teenagers equipped her with valuable skills as a scientist, her tips on forging a successful career and why she believes in a whole team approach to science. View the transcript: https://mrc.io/2...

14 MIN2019 JUN 5
Comments
Career inspirations: Caroline Relton, population health scientist

Career inspirations: Toby Jenkins, biophysical chemist

Toby Jenkins, biophysical chemist, is interviewed by Petra Kiviniemi. Professor Toby Jenkins is fascinated by bacterial and fungal infection of humans, particularly wounds and bladders. When beginning his research, he’d assumed that all clinicians and microbiologists understood what was happening in an infected wound. But the more he drilled into the subject, the more he realised how little we understand about infection. Using his love of building things and science, he’s creating materials and medical devices that detect infection. He’s also designing systems that can control the release of drugs to combat disease. His interdisciplinary team consists of material scientists, engineers, chemists and microbiologists. They work closely with clinicians, including the burns team at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Together, they’ve been developing an advanced wound dressing that glows under UV light if the wound is infected. Here Toby tells us about the importance of teaching...

17 MIN2019 MAY 8
Comments
Career inspirations: Toby Jenkins, biophysical chemist

Career inspirations: Mark Skehel, technology specialist

Mark Skehel, technology specialist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. A born scientist – thanks to his father’s influence – Mark has a job that allows him to play with big bits of equipment, as well as do his own biomedical research. His high-tech instruments help fellow scientists identify proteins from complex biological mixtures. ‘Mass spectrometry’ – or ‘mass spec’ for short – is a sensitive technique used to detect, identify and measure molecules based on their mass-to-charge ratio. Studying our biology at a molecular level helps scientists understand how our bodies work when healthy, what goes wrong in disease, and how we might fix disease pathways. His attitude of “Don’t be afraid of change – embrace it!” has served him well. By moving between industry and academia, he’s learnt transferable skills allowing him to help solve difficult biological problems. His experience proves that you can move around and change paths at any point in your career. Find out more ab...

24 MIN2019 APR 4
Comments
Career inspirations: Mark Skehel, technology specialist

Career inspirations: Fiona Watt, stem cell scientist

Fiona Watt, stem cell scientist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. Fiona’s love of animals led her to study zoology at the University of Cambridge, where she discovered the topic she’s dedicated her career to studying: cell biology. Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King's College London, Fiona is fascinated by stem cells – cells that give rise to all cell types in our bodies. She’s made important discoveries about their behaviour, including how the normal connections between skin cells go awry in cancer and skin disease. Inspired by combining her love of science with practical benefit, she wants to see cell therapies developed to help treat patients - including those affected by disfiguring scars that restrict movement. In her role as Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, Fiona leads on talent and skills. She’s committed to tackling gender issues in science and helping junior scientists progress in...

24 MIN2019 MAR 6
Comments
Career inspirations: Fiona Watt, stem cell scientist

Career inspirations: Nita Forouhi, nutrition scientist

Nita Forouhi, nutrition scientist, is interviewed by Isabel Harding. Nita trained as a doctor, but while treating patients with diabetes she realised this wasn’t enough. She wanted to find out what causes diabetes and how to prevent it from happening in the first place. She looks at something that matters to us all but is notoriously hard to study: the food we eat and how it affects our health. Inspired by studying the diets and biology of large populations, she’s shown how sugary drinks and specific types of dietary fat can increase our risk of disease. An advocate for good, solid evidence – and a passionate champion for equality, diversity and inclusion in science – she hopes that one day she’ll be able to give people personalised nutrition advice. Find out more about Nita’s work: mrc.ukri.org/blog View the transcript: mrc.io/2C5aHve Producer and presenter: Isabel Harding Producer and editor: Hasina Sacranie Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Lice...

30 MIN2019 FEB 6
Comments
Career inspirations: Nita Forouhi, nutrition scientist

Career inspirations: Daniel Freeman, clinical psychologist

Daniel Freeman, clinical psychologist, is interviewed by Debs Barber. Daniel studied natural sciences at university but then discovered his passion for psychology. Working in mental health services in the NHS he spent a lot of time listening to the experiences of his patients. This inspired him to try and understand what causes mental health disorders, to develop better treatments. Now a world pioneer in using virtual reality (VR) technology, Daniel thinks it has the potential to change mental health treatment in the future. Over the past 15 years he’s worked with interdisciplinary teams of researchers and game designers to create virtual environments which help patients experiencing delusions cope better with challenging situations in their day to day lives. In a new study he’s testing automated VR treatment for psychosis, with the hope of enabling state-of-the-art VR therapy for mental health issues to be delivered by the NHS. Find out more about Daniel’s MRC-funded THRIVE stud...

15 MIN2019 JAN 9
Comments
Career inspirations: Daniel Freeman, clinical psychologist

MRC talks episode 13: Max Perutz Award science writing tips

Our Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2018 is open. To help entrants, in this episode we speak to last year's winner and runners up for hints and tips on science writing. This year's competition closes on 4 July 2018. See details of the competition at: https://mrc.ukri.org/maxperutz/ Episode transcript here: https://mrc.ukri.org/documents/pdf/episode-13-max-pertuz-award-science-writing-tips-transcript/ Produced by Isabel Harding and Hasina Sacranie, and edited by Hasina Sacranie. Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under CC BY 4.0.

10 MIN2018 MAY 30
Comments
MRC talks episode 13: Max Perutz Award science writing tips

MRC talks episode 12: Sandra Bucci’s app helping people with psychosis

We bring you the second of two episodes highlighting research helping young people affected by poor mental health. One of the ways MRC-funded researchers are doing this, is through the use of digital technology. Scientists from the University of Manchester have developed a smartphone app to help people with psychosis. Hasina Sacranie talks to clinical psychologist and Senior Lecturer Dr Sandra Bucci about how she and her team developed the app. Read the updated MRC Strategy for Lifelong Mental Health Research on our website: mrc.ukri.org/mentalhealth Read more on our blog: www.insight.mrc.ac.uk/2017/08/14/connecting-with-help/ Produced by Isabel Harding and Hasina Sacranie, and edited by Hasina Sacranie. Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under CC BY 4.0.

9 MIN2018 MAY 15
Comments
MRC talks episode 12: Sandra Bucci’s app helping people with psychosis

MRC talks episode 11: Alan Stein's global mental health research

We bring you the first of two episodes highlighting research helping young people affected by poor mental health. Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Alan Stein is helping HIV-positive women with depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period. By improving their wellbeing he wants to help their children get the best start in life. He explains what his team has achieved so far in South Africa and the global implications of this work. Read the updated MRC Strategy for Lifelong Mental Health Research on our website: www.mrc.ac.uk/mentalhealth Read more on our blog: www.insight.mrc.ac.uk/2017/08/04/supporting-mothers-hiv-depression Produced by Isabel Baker and Hasina Sacranie, and edited by Hasina Sacranie. Music credits: "Clean Soul" and "Brittle Rille" Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under CC BY 3.0

7 MIN2017 SEP 29
Comments
MRC talks episode 11: Alan Stein's global mental health research
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