Summer Science Lectures 2015

 

Introduction

 

The summer lecture series will introduce current lecturers and researchers from London Met.

In recent years the role of the research scientist has come to interest students and the general public alike. Advances in science and technology affect our lives daily and many consumers only see the end product rather than the creative processes, the hard work and the input that academia has into these advances.

The presented lectures aim to show you how active scientists engage with research and what their conception of ideas will eventually lead to.

Dr Dan Stratton proudly presents on behalf of London Met:


Dr Dan Stratton

 
     


Prof. Jameel Inal PhD CBiol FSB

Prof. Jameel Inal

Microvesicles research in Biomedicine:
a sample of projects at CMIRC since 2009

 

This lecture will summarise certain research projects in the area of Microvesicles applied to cancer and infectious disease carried out at the Cellular and Molecular Immunology Research Centre at London Met over the last six years.

Lecture slides to be added here:

 

 




Dr Kevin G Devine

Dr Kevin G Devine

Astronauts in Structure Space:
Re-designing Nucleic Acids using synthetic organic chemistry

 

Modern terran life uses several essential biopolymers like nucleic acids, proteins and polysaccharides. The nucleic acids, DNA and RNA are arguably life’s most important, acting as the stores and translators of genetic information contained in their base sequences, which ultimately manifest themselves in the amino acid sequences of proteins. But just exactly what is it about their structures; an aromatic heterocyclic base appended to a (five-atom ring) sugar-phosphate backbone that enables them to carry out these functions with such high fidelity?

In the past three decades, leading chemists have created in their laboratories synthetic analogues of nucleic acids which differ from their natural counterparts in three key areas; (a) Replacement of the phosphate moiety with an uncharged analogue, (b) Replacement of the pentose sugars ribose and deoxyribose with alternative pentose and hexose derivatives, and finally (c) Replacement of the two heterocyclic base pairs adenine/thymine and guanine/cytosine with non-standard analogs that obey the Watson-Crick pairing rules. The talk will examine in detail the physical and chemical properties of these synthetic nucleic acid analogues, in particular on their abilities to serve as conveyors of genetic information. And if life exists elsewhere in the universe, will it also use DNA?

Access the slides from the lecture:

Astronauts in structure space





Dr Una L Fairbrother

Dr Una L Fairbrother

Telomere Length:
a 21st century Biomarker

 

 

Telomere length: a 21st century biomarker" discusses DNA structure and the nature of telomeres. This talk explains the importance of telomere length and the impact of this feature on human health. The talk finishes describing the exciting work being carried out in London Metropolitan University to help develop this measure as a 21st century biomarker.

Access the slides from the lecture:

Telomere length a 21st century biomarker



 

Dr Kenneth White
Reader in Molecular Bioscience

Dr Kenneth White

Phytosolutions for the treatment of diabetes:
harnessing ancient remedies for an ancient problem

 

Diabetes has become a global health problem with an estimated 400 million sufferers worldwide. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a deficiency of insulin, is usually diagnosed early in life, often has a genetic or auto-immune cause and is treatable by injections of insulin. However most people develop type 2 diabetes, through a combination of adverse lifestyle and genetic background. Several types of drug have been developed to treat type 2 diabetes, with differing modes of action.  Like all medicines some people experience adverse side effects and there is a demand for alternatives. Moreover in poorer parts of the world it is too costly to buy western medicines, especially for life-long diseases like diabetes. 
Diabetes has been recognised as a disease since ancient times and many herbal remedies have been identified in different regions of the world. Our research is currently focussed on the fenugreek plant Trigonella foenum graecum which is common in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia.  Fenugreek seeds are readily available in the UK for use as a spice in cooking and they contain an unusual amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine.  We have tested 4-hydroxyisoleucine in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and have demonstrated significant anti-diabetic properties. We have shown that 4-hydroxyisoleucine does not affect production of insulin and are currently investigating its mechanism of action. We have also identified antidiabetic components from Stevia baudia, a plant used in Ayurvedic medicine, and Moringa peregrina, common in the Middle East, and the vegetable variously known as bitter gourd or bitter melon, Mormordica charantia, also popular in the Middle East and Asia. 
By assessing the potential of these plants as antidiabetic treatments in the laboratory it may be possible to quantify their efficacy and to identify new chemicals and new modes of action.

Access the slides from the lecture:

Phyto solutions for the treatment of diabetes sept 2015