Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

Pint of Science comes to Cardiff

19 Mai 2017

photo of Dr Mathew Hoskins speaking at Pint of Science

The annual Pint of Science festival takes place in Cardiff for the first time ever – with three days of ‘sold out’ talks at Little Man Coffee shop.

Covering 26 cities across the UK, Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation that brings together some of the most brilliant scientists to local pubs and cafes to discuss their latest research findings and make science accessible to all.

Little Man Coffee Co., in Cardiff city centre, hosted the Brilliant Minds theme, which was standing-room only for the three evenings of talks. The second evening, titled A trip down memory lane, featured Dr Adele Pryce-Roberts and Professor Kim Graham.

The focus for the evening was Alzheimer's Disease, which affects 850,000 people in the UK. With our ageing population, it is set to be one of the biggest causes of mortality in the 21st century. Cardiff researchers are leading the way in dementia research, from bench to bedside, from the petri-dish to the population. Dr Pryce-Roberts and Prof Graham revealed how future treatments for Alzheimer's disease can be developed using stem cell technologies and brain imaging.

A Neurologist and ARUK Clinical Fellow, Dr Pryce-Roberts, discussed how she is using gene editing techniques and stem cells to examine how the connections between nerve cells is affected in late onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Prof Kim Graham is a cognitive neuroscientist at Cardiff University. She explained how she uses brain imaging to understand how memory is represented in the brain, and how it is disrupted in disorders, such as dementia.

Photo of speakers at Pint of Science

Sex, drugs and big mutations

The final night of the festival saw a fascinating mix of talks from Professor Ian Jones, Professor George Kirov and Dr Mat Hoskins. Under the umbrella of mental health the three scientists explored how sex differences can influence the risk of developing mood disorders, how big mutations can lead to psychiatric conditions and how ground-breaking MDMA treatments might well be the future of treating PTSD.

Director of the National Centre of Mental Health, Prof Jones, discussed the research in Cardiff that is attempting to understand the causes of postpartum mood disorders and his work, including working with the script writers of EastEnders, to reduce the stigma that still exists for these conditions.

Second speaker of the night Prof Kirov, Clinical Professor of the Division Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University, explained how frequent mutations are in humans and they’re link to psychiatric disorders. He demonstrated how copy number variants allow us to answer questions without having all the data and what they teach us about severe psychiatric disorders.

Bringing the festival to a close Dr Mat Hoskins (pictured above), a Psychiatrist and Clinical Lecturer, told us how he is hoping to start the world's first brain imaging study to explore how the novel psychedelic compound MDMA could be used to assist trauma psychotherapy in patients with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD.

The National Centre for Mental Health supported the events by hosting an information stand with leaflets and brain stress balls, and details about how to get involved in their research to help better understand the causes of mental health problems.

NCMH and Dementia event stand

Beautiful Minds (Pint of Science) event organiser Hayley Moulding, a postgraduate student in the School of Medicine, said: “It’s been a brilliant experience holding Cardiff’s first events as part of the UK-wide festival.

“Pint of Science is a really unique way of bringing together academics, students and the general public to get a conversation flowing about our most vital organ – the brain. We would like to thank everyone who spoke, volunteered and most importantly came along to enjoy neuroscience and made the events such a great success.”

Rhannu’r stori hon