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Early Cancer Institute

Dr Daniel Munoz Espin with students from Hills Road Sixth Form College

Two group leaders from the Early Cancer Institute gave talks to students at local Sixth Form colleges recently, in an effort to share the work they are doing and inspire a future generation of scientists.

On Thursday 20th March, Dr Daniel Munoz-Espin gave a fascinating talk to students at Hills Road Sixth Form College titled "Ageing and Interventions for Rejuvenation". The lecture focussed on how cells age and become dysfunctional, and ultimately how we age and aquire diseases, such as cancer. He introduced the students to the concept of cellular senescence, or "zombie cells", and debunked some myths about anti-ageing therapies along the way. He also talked about current and future areas of research into cell ageing, senescence and cancer. 

"I found it really interesting, I especially liked learning about the induced pluripotent cells", "I definitely learnt more about ageing and I have just found out about telomere theory", "Such an interesting and informative talk! It was great to learn more about the human history of ageing, ethics and have some medical myths debunked"Comments from the student audience


The following day, Friday 21st March, Dr Siddhartha Kar visited Long Road Sixth Form College to give a presentation to Year 1 Biology A-Level students titled 'What can genetics tell us about the causes of diseases and their treatment?'

The talk covered a broad range of areas relating to the genetic epidemiology of cancer and included many topics the students are learning about on their course, so it was hugely appreciated and very informative. Siddhartha also talked a little about his background and his career path so far, which includes qualifications from three different countries!

After the talk, the students discussed some of the points they had found particularly interesting or had further questions about. Siddhartha was very happy to answer some of these really great questions and talk to the students in smaller groups. They were particularly interested in how AI is being used in diagnosis and treatment, how CRISPR technology is being used to edit genes, and how cancers due to inherited faulty genes are much less common than cancers caused by ageing and the environment. One student, Joseph, said "modern advances in genetics are super interesting." Hugo and Kacey said "the talk was very interesting and links really well to our course, thanks!"

Dr Siddhartha Kar with Biology teachers from Long Road Sixth Form College

"I was delighted to see the enthusiastic response from the students at Long Road Sixth Form College – their interest was evident from the remarkable breadth and depth of the questions that they asked.  High school in general, and sixth form in particular, is an absolutely formative time for the development of a future scientist.  I was keen to share my passion for biomedical research with the students, connect their curriculum with advanced applications in our daily work at the Early Cancer Institute, and inspire at least some of them towards an exciting and impactful career in international cancer medicine and science."Dr Siddhartha Kar