2017 Review

2018 is upon us and we are very excited for what the New Year will bring. InterSci has had a fantastic first few months, and we are in a great position to keep encouraging scientific collaboration and communication in Edinburgh. Let’s take a look at what’s happened so far.

InterSci’s main event is Ask a Scientist. We held 6 of these throughout Autumn at the fantastic Argyle and Cellar bar in Marchmont and they were a brilliant success. These open events aim to provide an informal setting (a pub) for scientists to come and discuss their work or interest in science. Anyone and everyone is welcome and no scientific knowledge required thanks to our no-jargon rule!

A total of 12 scientists spoke at these events on topics including high speed transport (50 minute train to London anyone?), lung diagnostics, art-science collaborations and mental health. (See a more in-depth summary of these below)

We ended each series of Ask a Scientist with an open-ended discussion on a controversial scientific topic: Human Genome Editing (Series 1) and Nuclear Power (Series 2). These events aimed to enable participants to voice and explore opinions about scientific areas relevant to their lives.

Sandwiched in between the two Ask a Scientist series, we had a workshop discussing how scientists could engage the public when discussing research involving animals. A panel discussion, featuring veterinary experts and science communicators, was followed by an opportunity for scientists to practice presenting their use of animals in their research and get feedback from experts and participants.

2017 was a fantastic start for InterSci, and the end of the year brought not only a great Christmas social but good news as we were officially accepted as a EUSA society. Thus, the future looks bright and 2018 will be an exciting year for InterSci, where we aim to be even more inclusive and organise further collaborative events for Edinburgh’s science scene.

 

Read below the summaries of all the talks from our great speakers.

Lysimachos Zografos works in ‘virtual biotech’. He constantly communicates with people from different disciplines and backgrounds, so he relished the opportunity to enhance his interdisciplinary skills.

Being able to translate the value of your idea is a big part of being interdisciplinary.

Alex Raven, is a final year PhD working on improving diagnosis of liver disease and damage. He also challenged the institutional focus on maximising research-paper output in what is described as the “publish or perish” culture that places perverse incentives on researchers.

Publish or perish – we’re the generation to change that attitude.’

Our second event saw James Howie and Miriam Walsh speak about their non-profit organisation, ASCUS, Based in Edinburgh, they deliver various art-science initiatives and workshops, bringing together creativity from both disciplines.

Robin Morten has 16-years’ experience in science communication through numerous roles across academia and industry, all with the common aim of improving communication and outreach between specialists and lay audiences. In his talk, he offered expert advice on how to succeed in the expanding field of science communication.

Sarah Jaekel, a post-doctoral researcher from Germany, gave us insight into her journey to becoming a post-doctoral researcher, and going from a biochemical background into neuroscience.

In November, we hosted a second series of Ask a Scientist events, kicking off with Katerina Gospodinova, a final year PhD student. Katerina spoke of her experience in science and art collaboration and how it can help tackle mental health stigma. Her talk inspired a fascinating discussion on how society perceives mental health.

Adam Anyszewski is a fifth-year Electrical and Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student. Adam has been involved in HYPED for the past two years, a student-led group devoted to developing Hyperloop travel systems. Hyperloop is a new mode of transport with electric “trains” not on tracks but levitating within near-vacuum tubes able to reach speeds of around 670 mph the potential future of high-speed travel. Adam’s talk sparked debate from multiple disciplines.

Thane Campbell is a PhD student in immunology and is part of PROTEUS, an interdisciplinary research project using nanotechnology and fibre optics to light up the lungs and detect disease. Thane is passionate about the journey from lab to start-up venture, highlighting Hackathons and LAUNCH.ed, amongst other groups, in his talk. Following Thane, Panos Giannopoulos, a trained psychiatrist, spoke about his work in neurology and clinical oncology.

Adeel Shafi is passionate about interdisciplinary research and how it helps advance medical care.  His PhD project involves developing “microbubbles” which can be used in the body to improve diagnoses and drug-delivery. Adeel, an advocate for entrepreneurship, is passionate about getting science and technology to the real world solving real world issues.

Katie Ember, an OPTIMA PhD student, works across four departments, combining multiple disciplines in her project. She is developing a way of detecting liver damage using laser light that can be used to check whether a donated liver is healthy enough for transplant. Her engaging talk showed she believes that the classical boundaries of physics, chemistry and biology are outdated and that interdisciplinary science is the way forward.

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