Success for IICD Students at Medical School Research Meeting

The 2016 Medical School Research Meeting entitled "What it takes to be a scientist in 2016" took place on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June. The aim of this annual event is to showcase on-going research and there were some great talks and posters given by members of IICD and all were of very high quality.

Very well done to everyone who took part whether that was speaking, chairing, listening, preparing students/postdocs, judging posters or being involved in the organising of the meeting itself.

Amira + Jess + JackThe meeting concluded with prizes awarded to the best speakers and the best posters as judged by Professor John Atherton, Pro Vice Chancellor; Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham and Professor Sheila MacNeil, Professor of Tissue Engineering at University of Sheffield.

Our PhD students were awarded the following prizes:

First Prize Oral Presentation Jack Green (Wilson Lab)
Third Prize Oral Presentation Amira Zawia (Lawrie Lab)
Poster prize 3Rs Jessica Johnston (Kiss-Toth Lab)

Jack Green - Atheroprone Flow alters ATP-induced Calcium Signaling in the Endothelium,

Jack’s research is focused on inflammatory signalling in endothelial cells under flow. Atherosclerotic plaques develop predominantly at bends and branch points of arteries where the flow of blood is disturbed. In response to flow, the endothelium releases ATP into the blood and we have found that this secreted ATP can activate different responses in endothelial cells under disturbed flow compared to normal flow. These ATP induced responses contribute to the induction of inflammatory genes and this may be a factor in early atherosclerosis development.

Amira Zawia - Reduction of CD68+ cells causes spontaneous pulmonary arterial hypertension in experimental models.

Amira is undertaking research with the Pulmonary Vascular Research Group and is interested in understanding the pathology of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Amira’s role is determining the role of macrophages as important inflammatory cells detected excessively in vascular lesion of diseased individual. Amira is using an experimental model with induced macrophage ablation to determine if loss of these cells have any beneficial effect.

Jessica Johnston - In Situ Examination of Plaque Macrophage Populations Using Multicolour Florescence Microscopy Reveals Critical Differences Between Murine Models of Experimental Atherosclerosis.

Jess’s research poster focused on developing an image analysis tool to assess multiple markers of macrophage phenotype in experimental atheromas. Although there is work characterising macrophage phenotype in vitro, our knowledge of their complexity in vivo is only partially understood, especially in atherosclerotic plaques. Jess validated her tool in three atherosclerosis models; ApoE-/-, LDLR-/- and PCSK9 and in line with promoting the 3Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement) in research, Jess used surplus tissue samples that were generated from previous studies. Jess’s work has fully characterised the plaque macrophage phenotype of the three systems and therefore also could be used as reference for future researchers, thus again reducing the need to use animals in research.