Pint of Science is an annual science festival that took place this year between Monday 20 and Wednesday 22 May. It brings together researchers at local pubs to share their scientific discoveries with the general public.
The festival has become a hit in Oxford, and this year our Department proudly sponsored an "Our Body" themed night on Wednesday 22 May. The event "Food for thought - our brain and our diet" involved two intriguing talks from DPAG Professors Ana Domingos and Samira Lakhal-Littlethon about the link between our brains and obesity, and the importance of eating those greens!
Ana Domingos gave a talk entitled "How can your brain control your weight?" She discussed her work on a subset of neurons that have the capacity to drive fat mass reduction and how her research can pave the way to the development of anti-obesity treatments. Her talk achieved the objective of giving the captivated audience 'food for thought', with one audience member remarking: "Ana’s talk made me rethink how I look at my food packaging!”
Samira Lakhal-Littleton gave a talk entitled "The importance of eating your greens: how iron deficiency causes heart disease". Samira's lab has shown that local iron deficiency within the heart and blood vessels is sufficient to cause heart disease, even in the absence of anaemia. Her talk raised the important question: should iron supplements in clinical practice no longer be based on haemoglobin? It strongly resonated with the engaged audience, with one audience member commenting: “Samira’s talk was excellent, interesting, informative and thought provoking."
One of the event organisers, Nikita Ved, was delighted to receive an outstanding set of feedback forms from the night, reporting an average score of 4 or 5 out of 5 from audience members. The majority of respondents reported that they had learned something new, talks were presented well and they had found the discussion interesting. An excellent achievement!
The night went really well. We had a fun and engaging crowd that were really interested in Ana and Samira's talks. Whilst there were a couple of scientists in the audience, the majority of people were non-specialists. Obesity and iron deficiency are such well-known health issues that I think the audience were really able to relate to both subject areas, which made for some thought provoking and interesting questions. The audience really enjoyed both talks (and the science themed pub quiz!) and we hope to see many of these faces again next year! - Dr Nikita Ved
We also congratulate Deborah Goberdhan, who gave a fantastic talk the previous night, on Tuesday 21 May, as part of the "Our Body" them, at an event intriguingly entitled "How does our body 'live tweet'?"
Her talk "Cell talk: cancer cells" discussed how cancer cells send out signals within tiny “bubbles” called vesicles, as a form of communication and spreading of disease, and how breaking this communication could be a powerful tool for therapy.
Massive thanks and congratulations are in order to Nikita Ved, alongside the other event organisers, DPAG's Marta Madureira and Mie Krongborg Olesen from The Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health.