Our students’ summer contributions to the lab

It’s time for a well overdue thank you to all of our student volunteers for their contributions to the lab over the summer.  This year, instead of offering standard work experience to two or three students, as we have done in the past, we decided to ask our Student Panel members for help with a number of tasks that would be beneficial to both them and us.  An experimental approach but it worked even better than we had hoped!  So, many thanks to:

Lottricia Millett, Lily Groom, Morgan Walker, Reef Ronel, David Launer, Casril Liebert and Ashleigh Francis for writing summaries of published research papers from the lab.  All of these summaries (which were of a very high quality!) are published here on the blog as well as being displayed in the patient waiting area of the department.  A number of them have also been sent out to the patients and healthy volunteers who took part in those studies to inform them of the findings of the research to which they contributed.  Feeding back results of studies to participants is really important, and it’s great to be able to send these summaries out to people. 14222263_1788954434721939_5703414665885109122_n We also hope that the students will be able to use these summaries to demonstrate their skills when attending for university interviews and suchlike.

Kiki14088424_1787637261520323_4645596235687183587_n Riad-Forbes and Banke Faboyede for revamping the display board in our patient waiting area.  The display has photos of the researchers in the department and information about the different types of research everyone does, plus links to this blog and our Facebook & Twitter accounts.  We see a lot of people reading the information while they’re waiting so the eye-catching display is definitely doing its job!

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13906611_1778805805736802_1603152345208128348_nMiki Friend, Asha Omar, 14045962_1784058648544851_3183321450250707211_nKiki Riad-Forbes, Banke Faboyede and Muska Yarzi for putting together a database of all of Alan and Vicky’s previous research participants and sending a huge mailshot to them all with the summaries of the studies for which they volunteered.  This wasn’t the most interesting of jobs, involving lots of typing, printing, sorting piles of paper, and stuffing envelopes but was a task that probably just wouldn’t have happened otherwise.  After some delays with a new postal system at King’s we’ve just sent out 216 A4 envelopes, with a few more to go out in due course.

Neta Fibeesh, Abi Mincer and Ma’ayan Dee, for writing a summary of Arietta Spinou’s PhD thesis studies, which again will be sent out to her patient participants to inform them of the outcome of the research.  The nature of Arietta’s research is a bit different to the types of studies that most people are familiar with, so Neta, Abi and Ma’ayan did very well to summarise these studies in a way that’s accessible to people with no scientific background.

Ibtissam Adem and Deeqa Mohamed, for producing a great video of the SkinSuit study being undertaken at the KCL London Bridge campus with PhD student Phil Carvil and MSc student Alex Sehgal under Ged’s supervision.  Not only did they film it in 13892088_1778805789070137_4994973215050727729_ngreat detail, they took a lot of time to ensure they understood all of the complex science of both the suit (designed to mimic the some of the effects of gravity when astronauts are in space) and the measurements being made.  The video will be a great resource for a lot of people.

So we think that’s a pretty decent summer of work!  It has been wonderful to partner with our Student Panel members and we have been very impressed with the quality of the work they’ve all produced.  We’re already looking forward to what achievements next summer will bring!

Arietta has submitted her thesis!

Big news from King’s Muscle Lab – Arietta has finished writing up her PhD studies and submitted her thesis on Friday!  There has been much congratulating in the office today, plus also slight shock and horror that she was typing so hard that she actually developed joint problems in two of her fingers and had to see the GP for anti-inflammatory medication.  The things we do for our research!

Summaries to come of her research studies’ findings…

Bronwen and Vicky graduate!

Bronwen and Vicky recently had theirBron & Vicky graduation graduation ceremony, where they officially collected their PhDs!  They both got to dress up in fancy outfits and walk across a stage in front of A LOT of people to shake hands with important people from the University.  Both Bronwen and Vicky were very pleased that they didn’t fall over!  People from the lab and Bronwen and Vicky’s families came along to a bit of a party afterwards.  It was a lovely day and really nice to celebrate the end of a lot of hard work – though there’s always more hard work to be done…

Congratulations Dan!

Dan has recently had some big news that is really important for his research – he has been awarded a “research fellowship” by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is the government-funded organisation that gives money for research.  It’s always hard to get any research funding, as described on our “What is research?” tab, but NIHR funding is particularly hard to get as lots of very good people apply so there’s tough competition.  Dan has applied before and not been successful, but he was not put off (it’s important to be persistent if you work in research!) and this time he did get the money.

There are different types of research grants that we apply for.  Most common are grants that we call “project grants”, which give us money to do one particular piece of work.  These grants will pay for the salary of a researcher to do the work, as well as for the supplies that we use along the way.  We also sometimes apply for equipment grants, which let us buy big pieces of kit like exercise bikes or lung function testing machines – a lot of the equipment we use costs many thousands of pounds so we have to plan carefully how we will pay for new equipment when we need it.

Fellowships are a bit different.  A fellowship gives money to one researcher for a set amount of time, often 3 years.  As well as paying for their salary during that time, plus the costs of their research, it includes money for the researcher to go to conferences and courses, and – if they are doing a PhD, like Dan is – pays the fees that the university charges.  It’s a really big achievement to get a fellowship, as it means that the people giving you the money believe that you, personally, have the potential to become a really good researcher and they want to make an investment in your future.

We are all really pleased for Dan – and Dan’s very pleased with himself!  It’s great news that he now has three years in which to do his project looking at the right type of help we can give people with their breathing while on intensive care.  We hope he will have some really exciting findings and wish him good luck – there’s lots more hard work ahead!