We have a not-so-new researcher in the lab – just a bit late introducing him to the readership… Manuel is an engineer from Barcelona, who has joined us for a year with the support of a fellowship grant from the European Respiratory Society. Manuel and his colleagues in Barcelona have a huge amount of expertise in analysing biological signals, and so Manuel is going to be working on new ways that we can process and analyse the data that we obtain in our studies. Ultimately, this could mean that we will be able to extract much more information from every study we do, and extract it more quickly – what’s not to like about that? Manuel arrived in December and has already done some very impressive work, not least sorting out the crazy number of wires he needs to connect up all of the many, many pieces of equipment he uses. There’s some pretty serious maths and physics in what he does, so there may be an explanatory blog post to come…
Laurie and Aliya recently finished their Masters in Clinical Research (MRes) degrees – congratulations to them! After much hard work they have written and handed in their 15,000 word essays and we have said goodbye to them as they have returned to their old jobs – Aliya in the lung function department here at King’s College Hospital, and Laurie back to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Our other Masters students, Cara and Gavin, have also recently completed their degrees in Human and Applied Physiology and have left us; well done to them for hard work in their projects. We will miss them all (and we hope they miss us a little bit too).
On a happier note, we welcome 3 new MRes students to the lab – Matt, Hannah and Lorna. Like Aliya, Lorna has come to us from the lung function department at King’s College Hospital so we know her well; she will be working on a project involving children with asthma. Hannah is a physiotherapist from King’s who will do a project seeing how we can improve leg strength in people with COPD. Matt is a respiratory physiologist who normally works at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and will be looking at blood flow in people’s leg muscles during exercise. They started here last week so haven’t got started with their projects just yet, but we will be working them hard so it won’t be long before they’re making measurements!
Last week we had two new students start work in our lab. Cara and Gavin are doing Master’s degrees in Human and Applied Physiology at King’s College London. Ged (senior lecturer in the department) does a lot of the teaching on the course, and Vicky does a bit too, teaching the students about different ways to measure breathing and what happens to your breathing when you exercise or move into different positions (including turning people upside-down!).
Cara and Gavin started the course in September and have now finished all their lectures and exams. The final part of the course is for them to do a research project, which they will be doing in our lab between now and the end of August. The project they will be working on will be measuring how hard the breathing muscles work in healthy adults using our EMG measurement, so they will be asking lots and lots of adults without any breathing problems to come in and have EMG measurements made. We are doing this project so that we can get a really good idea of what is a normal amount of work for the breathing muscles to do, so that we can compare the numbers we get from people with breathing problems. This means we can use EMG to give us information about how bad people’s breathing problems are. We would also like to know whether things like being taller/shorter, older/younger, thinner/fatter, a man/woman or more/less muscly makes a difference to your EMG. Studies like this are really what physiology research is all about – making measurements of things that happen in the body and trying to understand why we get slightly different numbers from different people.
Gavin and Cara have made a great start and have measured seven people already! They have to write a very long essay (15,000 words!) about their findings at the end of the project, so they need lots more people to give them plenty to write about. If you think you might be interested in coming and taking part in this project, please do give us a ring (0203 299 2080) or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).