Trust research is a big hit at science festival
Researchers from NIHR Royal Brompton Biomedical Research Units took part in the annual Imperial Festival held 5 - 7 May. This three-day event is dedicated to sharing the best science on offer at Imperial College London and its partner organisations. The festival attracted 15,000 visitors, including members of the public, staff and alumni. Another 30,000 people engaged with the festival on line through social media.
On Friday, Andrew Scott, senior physicist in the NIHR Royal Brompton Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (cBRU), and Zohya Khalique, cBRU clinical research fellow took part in a stand with 12 students from Chelsea Academy school.
“The Hearty Vessel” stand was designed by students to showcase their five-month school engagement initiative working with Andy on project_D.
The project funded by Andy's win in “I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here!” involved a series of workshops at Royal Brompton and Imperial College on his research into imaging and the heart.
Children from local primary schools enjoyed the hands-on activities on the stand which included a Lego cardiac MRI model and building a water filled heart muscle model. By talking to the students and trying their hand at the activities, children were able to find out how water diffusion in heart muscle helps researchers look at the heart.
Students from project_D sharing their work with primary school pupils
Andy praised the students: "The Chelsea Academy students have excelled throughout project_D. They've experienced the full cycle of a research project, from applying to take part, the theory behind the work, basic science experiments in a lab, then using the MRI scanner to image a healthy volunteer. Their stand at the science festival was the final part of the project, communicating their science to a wider audience and I couldn't be more pleased with the way it went."
A young visitor tries his hand at treating a heart rhythm problem on a computer simulator with help from Sonya Babu-Narayan (left) and Su-Lin Lee
On Saturday, Sonya Babu-Narayan, cBRU congenital heart disease consultant, and Jennifer Keegan, cBRU principal physicist joined forces with Su-Lin Lee, engineering lecturer from Imperial College and her team.
Their stand “Navigate the Heart” showed the latest imaging and engineering research, which aims to improve treatments for people with heart rhythm problems.
Visitors were shown how 3D heart imaging using MRI can give researchers a map of the heart, which helps guide treatment. The role of computer simulation and robotics in future care was also explored.
On Sunday, Mohamed Moghal and Uruj Hoda, clinical research fellows for sleep and asthma, along with staff from the respiratory BRU, led activities that included creating lung art and measuring lung function.
Uruji Hoda said: “It was my second time taking part in Imperial Festival and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only is it a great opportunity to interact with people from all sorts of backgrounds, but it has also shown me that I only truly know my own research when I can explain it easily to anyone, from a 5-year-old to a 55-year-old!"
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