Sixth Form Lectures
The days leading up to the Christmas holidays were not only filled with nativity plays and Carol Services! Some serious academic work also took place. Here, Shafaq Yaqoob, Upper VI, reports on the fascinating lectures the Sixth Form Biology students attended on 7th December.
‘After climbing 175 stairs (the equivalent of 15 floors) at Russell Square station, we finally reached the Institute of Education where our Biology in Action lectures were taking place.
The first lecture was by Nazneen Rahman who is one of BBC Radio 1’s most influential women. She gave us a very intriguing lecture about her research into DNA sequencing and the prevention of breast cancer and ovarian cancer owing to the mutation in the BRACA-2 gene. The talk also centred around the development of new drugs targeting changed bases in cancer cells and the problems surrounding the development of such drugs as cancer can develop resistance to them.
The second lecture centred on craniofacial development and stem cells in teeth. The lecture revolved around how the pattern of bone structures give us each a different looking facing and the use of stem cells found in the teeth. These stem cells could be used to grow teeth, which would then be used to replace broken permanent teeth. In the future, this biotechnology aims to replace dental implants.
After the second lecture, we went outside and had a lovely picnic in the park. We were to be back in the hall by 1.20pm when we were entertained by Dr Alton’s dry humour and intrigued by his work in the development of gene therapy to treat cystic fibrosis using liposomes. In addition to using liposomes as a vector to transport genes into the lungs, he and his team is taking his research further by using lentiviruses in gene therapy.
We were also fortunate enough to be given a talk by Simon Watts, the presenter of television’s “Inside Nature’s Giants.” He told us about his very interesting experience of dissecting a sperm whale. The last talk centred on growing genetically modified plants containing vaccines. This new biotechnology is still under trial and is surrounded by many questions.
At the end of our lectures, we were left with many interesting questions and topics to further research.’Categories: Senior Sixth Form Whole School