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19 March 2012
What can stop cancer cells from spreading? How can we harness the immune system to treat disease? Can our genes make us susceptible to psychiatric disorders?
A-Level pupils from across Wales and the border counties had the opportunity to discover the answers to these questions and many more at the University’s annual Science in Health event.
More than 500 young people and 45 teachers from 36 schools gathered at the Heath Park campus for Science in Health Live, which is part of the Cardiff University contribution to National Science and Engineering Week.
The event, now in its 18th year, is designed to give pupils an insight into the science behind medicine, showing them first hand the range of career options open to them in healthcare, biomedical and scientific fields. Considerable efforts are made to ensure that pupils registered on the University’s widening access scheme, "Step-Up to University", are able to attend.
The students participated in laboratory tours, interactive exhibitions, stand-up science comedy and a series of talks on various hot topics in medicine. They also watched a Science Theatre performance demonstrating medical and clinical sciences in action.
The range of cutting-edge technology on display included imaging cameras that show chemical processes in live cells and revolutionary modelling software that aids drug design.
Nicholas Alford, Head of Biology at St Cyres Comprehensive School in Penarth, said: "The general buzz and excitement elicited from the students and seeing their ideas about future careers being seeded was one of the best parts of the event."
Science in Health Live is organised by the University’s Public Understanding of Science in Health (PUSH) committee. Dr James Matthews, School of Medicine and PUSH co-chair, said: "To our knowledge, there is no equivalent event in the UK of comparable scope and scale. Cardiff University also has claim to perhaps the UK’s only stand-up comedy neuroscientist in Dr Dean Burnett!
"SIH-Live is also now linked to a series of co-ordinated activities within the School of Medicine, including the Science in Health Public Lectures and a novel biomedical sciences work experience programme, which aims to inspire and inform secondary school students throughout Wales who are seeking career opportunities in medicine and biomedical science.
"The positive comments from students and teachers at the event show that we are going a considerable way to meeting those aims and reflect the tremendous efforts of a large number of motivated individuals."
Professor Anthony Campbell, Welsh School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and PUSH co-chair, added: "Our aim is to excite young people about the science at Cardiff University that is having a real impact on medical research and clinical practice.
"The event is designed to allow pupils to discover how an amazing diversity of basic science, developed here at Cardiff, has led to discoveries about the mechanisms that cause diseases and how these are being used to find new ways of preventing them, or to develop new treatments."
Professor Paul Morgan, Dean of the School of Medicine, said: "The School is working hard to increase the number of Welsh school pupils who apply to and win a place at the School.
Currently, less than 20% of our students come from Wales and I would very much like to see this proportion increase substantially.
"I hope that events like SIH 2012 will help encourage talented young Welsh students to consider applying to study Medicine or other health professions, and become the doctors, nurses and other health staff essential for the future healthcare needs of Wales."
Science in Health Live involves more 150 members of staff at all levels, from postgraduates to Professors, representing the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Healthcare, Dentistry and Optometry.
School of Medicine
Welsh School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Healthcare Studies
School of Dentistry
School of Optometry
Public Understanding of Science in Health
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