Research

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships - Summer 2022 (Wellcome Trust)

vacation scholarships header

Applications for these Scholarships are now closed for 2022. 

Offered in partnership with the University of Nottingham, the Wellcome Trust’s Biomedical Vacation Scholarships are designed to provide promising undergraduates from underrepresented groups, the opportunity of hands-on research experience during the summer vacation, with the aim of encouraging them to consider a career in research. Paid at the national living wage, the eight week projects provide undergraduate students with professional experience and support their future applications for postgraduate study and research jobs.

What the scholarships involve:

With support from one of our Research Hosts, you will spend 6-8 weeks working as a researcher at the University of Nottingham. We will have a selection of exciting research projects to choose from which will offer a variety of learning situations to enhance your research skills, expand your network of contacts and get an introduction to life as a postgraduate researcher at the University of Nottingham.

What scholars receive:

  • Hands on experience in a live research environment
  • A basic salary at the real Living Wage plus holiday pay and National Insurance Contributions
  • Where applicable a contribution towards travel expenses 

Widening Participation:

The University of Nottingham through its Wellcome Trust Vacation Bursary scheme aims to recruit candidates from groups currently underrepresented at postgraduate research level both at Nottingham and the wider Higher Education sector. As such we will take positive action during our recruitment process to prioritise applicants who meet the following criteria for interviews:

  • Identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic UK students
  • Are undertaking an undergraduate qualification at a non-Russell Group university
  • Are from an area of the UK with lower participation in higher education (specifically quintile 1 & 2)
  • Are a care leaver
  • Have a disability

Applicants will be able to opt in to have their application considered under these widening participation criteria as part of an application.

More information: Read about how the Wellcome Trust are addressing the gap and broadening diversity of the people they fund.

Projects: 

Project 1 - Simulation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation strategies in myocardial infarction and asphyxia using an integrated and high fidelity computational model.

The main of the project is to investigate how different aetiologies of cardiac arrest (CA) can require different cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) strategies in a virtual subject. CA is a sudden state of circulatory failure due to a loss of cardiac function and it can be originated by causes related to the heart (cardiogenic), such as myocardial infarction (MI) or unrelated (non-cardiogenic), such as asphyxia (As) [1]. To attempt resuscitation, the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) recommends administrating standard CPR using a single approach for all adult patients (30:2 compressions/ventilation ratio) with chest compressions delivered at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions/min and depth of >5 cm. [2] However, the discrepancy between what is recommended and the ‘real world’ of CPR has resulted in a near low survival rate from CA in the past years.

Due to the difficulty of conducting clinical trials and due to a poor translation of the results to humans in animal studies, the scientific evidence supporting the full understanding of the pathophysiological state of CA and CPR strategies still suffers from important gaps in knowledge. Computational modelling offers a fresh, new perspective. Virtual models of patients and pathology are amenable to detailed validation, assuring reproducibility and translation into the human application. The student will use our Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Systems Medicine (ICSM) simulation suite, a set of integrated, high-fidelity cardiopulmonary models, built in a MATLAB ‘superstructure’ developed by our team [3].

Research question and hypothesis. Should CPR strategies be specific to the aetiology of CA, in particular, if they are cardiogenic (e.g. MI) and non-cardiogenic (e.g. As)?

Reversing the pathology that caused the CA is one of the crucial aspects of successful CPR. We hypothesize that different aetiologies required different CPR to have a successful resuscitation. To answer the research question and verify our hypothesis the following 3 connected aims are outlined:

Aim 1. Simulation of CPR in MI.

Simulation of MI. The student will use a recently developed module, in which MI has been simulated in a virtual subject, by reducing the blood flow to the myocardium by 50%, and by implementing three compensation mechanisms. Simulation of CPR. The student will use a recently developed thoracic model, which allows simulating CPR, relating the external chest compression force F(t), applied at the sternum, the intrathoracic tissue pressure (Pm), and the pressure on the alveoli (Pcc). The F(t) is expressed as a function of the end compression force (Fmax), compression rate (CCrate) and the duty cycle (Dutycycle). Additionally, the subject will be mechanically ventilated with a tidal volume of 800 ml at a rate of 10 breaths∙min-1. Protocol. The virtual subject will be configured as in our previous study. [3] After 1 min of spontaneous ventilation (SV), 5 min of MI in SV will be simulated, followed by 5 min of CA. CA will be simulated by setting the heart rate to 0. Additionally, the subject will be apnoeic with the upper airway obstructed. During CPR, apnoea will be maintained, but the upper airway will no longer be obstructed allowing passive ventilation from chest compressions. CPR will be simulated for 5 min following the ERC guidelines (i.e. Fmax =400 N; CCrate 120 cpm; Dutycycle=0.5) [2]

Aim 2. Simulation of CPR in As.

Simulation of As. The student will simulate As-induced CA due to airway obstruction. At the onset of As, the subject will not receive any ventilation (SV with ventilation rate set to 0), and the upper airway will be obstructed.

Protocol.

The virtual subject will be configured as in aim 1. After 1 min of SV, 5 min of As will be simulated, followed by 5 min of CA. Similarly to aim 1, CPR will be simulated for 5 min following the ERC guidelines. [2]

Aim 3. Global optimization algorithm to identify the optimal chest compression parameters for each aetiology.

The student will compare the success of resuscitation through surrogate model outputs. To assess the effectiveness of the CPR strategy, the following model outputs have been selected because of their association with the return of spontaneous circulation: end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2), coronary perfusion pressure (CPP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP). A genetic algorithm (GA) method to solve the optimization problem will be used. The aim of the GA is to find the sets of chest compression parameters (i.e. Fmax, CCrate, Dutycycle) that optimize the CPR model outputs associated with return of spontaneous circulation (i.e., ETCO2, CPP, SBP). Once the GA will be run, the student will compare the CPR strategies and find out whether CPR strategies are specific to the aetiology of CA.

1 https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/cardiac-arrest. 2 Nolan JP, et al. Intensive Care Med. 2021; 47(4):369-421. 3. Laviola M, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2019; 22(3):395-401.

Project host statement:

Dr Marianna Laviola, Assistant Professor, School of Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

I would love to host a BSV student because research supervision is the most fulfilling part of my job. It combines teaching and research into one and keeps me in the world of students' curiosity. Although I am Assistant Professor, my career as student and PGR ended not so long ago. I have vivid memories of what it means to be a student and their expectations. Furthermore, hosting a BSV student will be an honour for our team, as it is a very prestigious scholarship. I strongly believe that joining our interdisciplinary group is a unique opportunity to step into the world of research because it gives the possibility to work with computer science, mathematics and medicine in one single project. This is a fantastic chance especially for those new to research, as the requirements do not need you to familiar with research previously. I am confident that at the end of the BSV, the student will become a more independent learner since they will develop their own ideas for the proposed project.

Find out full details of the project here.

 

 

Project 2 - Analysis of some simple mathematical models for epidemics.

Epidemic modelling has attained an extremely high public profile during the current pandemic, with concepts intrinsic to such models (notable reproduction numbers and doubling times) entering common usage. Perhaps surprisingly, however, there are aspects of even the simplest relevant models that have not been comprehensively explored by the full range of available mathematical approaches, a number of the possible developments being well-suited to study in the course of an undergraduate research project.

The project aims to implement detailed mathematical investigations of the simplest models for the spread of epidemics. It will, moreover, provide training in a number of the mathematical methodologies effective in such applications, and much more broadly in systems-biology studies. The hypotheses it will explore are that there is more to be understood about even these simple formulations and that their study can provide additional intuition that is of value in interpreting and mitigating spread.

The project will be devoted to the study of ordinary differential equation formulations, initially involving the very well-established SIR (susceptible-infected-removed) and SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infected-removed) models. It will involve the application of a combination of numerical simulations, dynamical-systems approaches and, especially, asymptotic arguments to characterise in detail the dependence of the dynamics on the associated parameter values. Key quantities to be explored include the peak levels of infections and their total numbers over the course of the epidemic. With these results in hand, numerous generalisations will be accessible, notably to explore the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions, vaccinations and effective anti-virals, the development of new viral strains and the implication of reinfections.

The models to be studied form the building blocks of much more sophisticated formulations that seek greater realism (encompassing structured populations, spatial heterogeneity and stochastic effects, in particular). The motivation for the above work is two-fold, firstly that additional model complexity can sometimes limit intuition, due directly to that complexity, and that developing understanding from the ground up will equip the student subsequently to investigate much more complicated frameworks.

Project host statement:

Professor John King, Professor of Theoretical Mechanics, School of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science

Because of the timeliness of the topic, I have recently pursued some preliminary investigations that have convinced me of the scope and potential value of the proposed studies. I believe, moreover, that the work would provide motivation for a student subsequently to apply their developing mathematical skills to problems of considerable real-world relevance as well as training in, and experience of, techniques that are of wide applicability in medical and biological contexts.

Find out full details of the project here.

 

 

Project 3 - Waveform analysis of blood pressure and blood flow to improve cardiovascular safety pharmacology.

The assessment of potential adverse drug reactions is crucial during drug development.1 Cardiovascular (CV) adverse drug effects, comprising direct and indirect toxic effects on the heart and vasculature, are still a major contributing factor to drug attrition.2,3 To minimise the risk of CV toxicity, better preclinical models are needed.4 Currently, the gold standard for preclinical in vivo assessment of haemodynamics is radiotelemetry.5 With this technique, an animal (rodent or non-rodent) is implanted with a radiotelemetric device, recording blood pressure (BP), heart rate, temperature and activity. This enables the monitoring of the CV parameters in conscious, freely-moving rats.5

Another valuable model to assess the haemodynamic effects of a drug, is Doppler flowmetry.6 This technique allows for recording of blood flow (BF) velocity in up to three vascular beds, simultaneously with BP recording, providing more detailed information of how a drug candidate is affecting different organs/vessels.6 Both BP and BF data are recorded as a periodic waveform, a regularly repeating signal over time. In the current analysis of these data, typically, the maximum and minimum values of the waveform (e.g., systolic and diastolic pressure) are evaluated. Although these values provide valuable information, this approach overlooks potential information ‘hidden’ in changes in waveform shape and variability. In-depth characterisation of recorded waveforms, looking at morphology and variability, may provide more extensive information on the condition of the heart and vasculature when exposed to drugs.7 Several mathematical models intending to utilize all provided data and understand the complexity of physiological waveforms have been explored in recent decades. The Symmetric Projection Attractor Reconstruction (SPAR) is one of those.7 This mathematical model converts a physiological waveform into a 2D image and by analysing different features of this 2D image, such as colour or length of the loops, detailed information on the effects of drugs on the heart and blood vessels can be extracted. More information on SPAR can be found here7. BP and BF recordings obtained from previous studies are currently being analysed using the novel SPAR method and show promising results. The student will help further developing the qualitative and quantitative analysis of blood pressure and blood flow waveforms in this model. This will be done using data from studies assessing drug safety of anticancer drugs that are known to cause CV toxicity, but the mechanisms are not fully understood, and validation compounds with known effects on the CV system. In this way, the student will contribute to answering the question: “Can in-depth characterization of waveform morphology and variability enhance our understanding of CV toxicity and help to predict and prevent such adverse drug effects?”

1. Kenakin TP. A Pharmacology Primer: Techniques for more effective and strategic drug discovery. 4th editio. San Diego: Elsevier Science and Technology, 2014.

2. Cook D, Brown D, Alexander R, et al. Lessons learned from the fate of AstraZeneca’s drug pipeline: A five-dimensional framework. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2014; 13: 419–431.

3. Waring MJ, Arrowsmith J, Leach AR, et al. An analysis of the attrition of drug candidates from four major pharmaceutical companies. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2015; 14: 475–486.

4. Weaver RJ, Valentin JP. Today’s Challenges to De-Risk and Predict Drug Safety in Human ‘mind-The-Gap’. Toxicol Sci 2019; 167: 307–321.

5. Sarazan RD, Mittelstadt S, Guth B, et al. Cardiovascular function in nonclinical drug safety assessment: Current issues and opportunities. Int J Toxicol 2011; 30: 272–286.

6. Woolard J, Bennett T, Dunn WR, et al. Acute Cardiovascular Effects of Sibutramine in Conscious Rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2004; 308: 1102–1110.

7. Nandi M, Aston PJ. Extracting new information from old waveforms: Symmetric projection attractor reconstruction

Project host statement:

Marieke Van Daele, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

I’m currently in the second year of my PhD. The student will be hosted by my supervisor, Prof. Jeanette Woolard, as well, so they will be supported in an ideal way, and this will also give me the opportunity to gain supervisory experience. I’m sitting on the committee of Team Science (COMPARE) and want to invite students into this supportive environment. During my bachelor and master, I had some opportunities myself to conduct short summer internships in various lab groups. These were great experiences for me to get familiar with academia and helped me in decision making for my career, so I’m excited to host a student in our lab, hope to be able to provide the same experience for them and learn them everything about an interesting research area!

Find out full details of the project here.

 

 

Project 4 - Understanding the interactions between members of the Streptococcus anginosus group and Prevotella sp. in the cystic fibrosis lung microbiome.

Background: Cystic fibrosis (CF) affects approximately 12,000 people in the UK and Ireland. Pulmonary exacerbations (PEs) cause most of the morbidity and mortality in this patient population. Because PEs are usually successfully treated with antibiotics, we know that the bacteria that inhabit the lungs play an important role in these events. Previous work from myself and others has determined that the presence of the bacteria in the CF lung do not change before, during, and after PEs, suggesting that interactions between members of the microbiota may be more important in driving PEs than their presence alone.

Previous research suggests important interactions between the Streptococcus anginosus group (SAG) and Prevotella sp. (Prev) in the CF lung. For example, our group has found an SAG which prevents the growth of an Prevotella melanogenica. In this project, we hypothesize that SAG and Prev will interact in a strain-dependent manner. To test this, we will use in vitro competition spot assays to assess the interactions between a variety of SAG and Prev strains isolated from the CF lung microbiota using 2 selective agars – KVLB and McKay.

Specific aims:

1. Use 2 selective agars to culture SAG and Prev present in the microbial community of a fresh sputum sample collected by our collaborators.

The student will begin by culturing a sputum sample obtained from an individual with CF on two selective agars. The first agar, KVLB – Kanamycin, Vancomycin Laked Blood agar – selects for gram-negative anaerobic bacilli. When used to culture samples from the CF lung microbiota, approximately 80% of isolates grown are Prevotella sp. The second agar, McKay agar, was specifically designed to select for SAG organisms from the CF lung microbiome. After 3-5 days, the student and I will work together to isolate, record, count, and image each unique phenotype which has grown on these 2 selective agars (weeks 1-2).

2. Use an in vitro competition spot assay to test the interactions between SAG and Prev cultured in Aim 1.

Following isolate collection, the student will use a high-throughput competition spot assay to identify the interactions between SAG-Prev pairs. The competition assay involves setting up a 48-well plate of various SAG isolates and stamping them onto multiple plates of a general media in high-throughput; after 24 hours, each plate will be stamped with 48 colonies of a single Prev strain, pinned directly next to the SAG isolates. The resulting SAG-Prev strain pairs will be categorized as interacting synergistically if one or both colonies have a growth circumference larger than single-strain controls, antagonistically if one or both colonies fail to grow or have a decreased growth circumference, or neutral if there is no effect on growth (compared to controls). (weeks 3-5). The student and I will collect and summarize the experimental data. Images of each plate will be taken, and spot circumference measured using ImageJ software. We will use R to generate a heatmap of the spot circumference of each SAG-Prev pair. We will categorize isolates as interacting synergistically/antagonistically and decide on the 10 SAG-Prev pairs which best merit further investigation (week 6).

3. Follow up on a subset of interaction pairs using further microbial assays.

A subset of SAG-Prev pairs will be tested with in vitro assays including: (a) determining the importance of physical proximity by spotting on solid agar at various distances; (b) assessing the importance of secreted proteins and/or alterations to the environment via growth of each member of the isolate pair in the sterile spent culture medium of the other; (c) assessing the importance of the metabolic environment by competing on a variety of agar types. These follow up experiments will show whether the observations from the competition assay are generalizable across media types and conditions, and provide the first step in our understanding of the mechanism of interaction (weeks 7-8).

Project host statement:

Dr Fiona Whelan, Anne McLaren Fellow, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

I have personally found academic research to be a rewarding and exciting career path, and I am excited to share that passion with a BVS student over the summer. I have been involved in research surrounding the cystic fibrosis lung microbiota, including culture-enrichment and isolation of particular members of the community, for almost a decade. We are still learning new things and gaining improved perspectives of this community with each new project and research direction. This particular research project fits into our larger research programme which includes understanding the bacterial interactions of this community at both the microbe and genetic or gene level, combining classic microbiology with high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic analyses. The results of this project will help us better understand the microbial community dynamics of the cystic fibrosis lung, and how this contributes to the onset of pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis.

Find out full details of the project here.

 

 

Project 5 - Using the fruit fly to identify new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

One of the major problems with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the lack of available effective treatments. Usually, for the study of most human diseases, including AD, the traditional animal of choice has been the mouse. Mice that model AD, by overexpressing human genes associated with AD, have offered much promise, both to better understand the disease, but also to aid in the discovery of new treatments. However, questions have been increasingly raised about the validity of these mouse models, particularly in the light of the very high failure rate of clinical trials of AD therapies. In other words, treatments that work effectively in mice that model AD, fail when attempting to apply that same treatment to AD patients. It is thought likely that a major reason behind this is that these models only mimic specific features of the disease (such as amyloid accumulation) but often lack the widespread presence of other features that define AD, including nerve cell loss and neurofibrillary tangle development. Additionally, highly successful results in the mouse often lead to the premature adoption of these treatments in clinical trials, contributing to this poor track record. Our aim is to use another AD model, the fruit fly, as an additional step in the drug development pipeline, to address and improve the lack of translation between preclinical and clinical trials.

The hypothesis underlying this proposal is that fruit flies have significant potential to accelerate the identification of new drugs that improve on current AD treatments. The fruit fly has proven its worth in all areas of biology since it first entered laboratories over 100 years ago. Nearly 75% of human disease-causing genes are also present in the fly, which has led to the fly being increasingly used as a model to study human disease, in particular for neurodegenerative disorders, such as AD, but also for cancer, inflammatory disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and asthma, amongst others. The fruit fly is so popular with researchers because it combines a number of advantages over other model systems. Due to its long history as an animal model in research, a wide variety of well-established genetic tools are available, it has a short lifespan (particularly important in the field of neurodegenerative diseases) and, importantly, is incredibly cheap to keep. All of this means that experiments that would be laborious, time consuming and extremely expensive to carry out in the mouse, can be easily, quickly, and cheaply carried out in the fly. For this reason, the fruit fly is particularly useful in large scale studies, which would be prohibitively expensive to carry out in the mouse.

Overall aim:

Using high resolution imaging of the fly brain, we will combine the power of fly genetics with state-of-the-art cell biology to identify and characterise new drugs for AD, for which, despite extensive investigation, effective treatments remain elusive. Aim for summer student: To image nerve cell shape in AD fly models. We will use three distinct but related fly models to study AD-related neurodegeneration and use sophisticated fly genetic techniques to image specific regions in the fly brain. The aim here is to identify specific nerve cell populations that are affected in our fly AD models. Future work: Once identified, we can use nerve cell imaging to rapidly screen through our novel drug candidates. Those drugs that reduce neurodegeneration and/or nerve cell shape abnormalities within affected brain regions can then be tested in behavioural assays.

Aim for summer student:

To image nerve cell shape in AD fly models. We will use three distinct but related fly models to study AD-related neurodegeneration and use sophisticated fly genetic techniques to image specific regions in the fly brain. The aim here is to identify specific nerve cell populations that are affected in our fly AD models.

Future work:

Once identified, we can use nerve cell imaging to rapidly screen through our novel drug candidates. Those drugs that reduce neurodegeneration and/or nerve cell shape abnormalities within affected brain regions can then be tested in behavioural assays.

Project host statement:

Dr Marios Georgiou, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

I am very excited to provide an excellent opportunity to a summer student to take part in an exciting interdisciplinary project, and to learn a wide variety of state-of-the-art techniques. The summer student will likely prove to be invaluable to the lab, as this project will provide us with important preliminary data, which we can take forward in future grant applications and publications.

Find out full details of the project here.

 

 

Project 6 - Role of ligand residence time in intracellular signalling by cannabinoid G protein coupled receptors. 

G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) translate binding of hormones into intracellular signalling by G proteins and another class of proteins called arrestins. GPCRs are important pharmacological targets, and over 150 different GPCRs are targeted by ca 500 drugs used in the clinic. Ligands can induce signalling responses of varying degree, depending on their strength or efficacy. Our group is focusing on understanding of how drugs act on G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) at molecular and atomic levels, and how we could use this understanding to design novel drugs. We combine protein engineering, high throughput mutagenesis, biophysics, structural biology, pharmacology, structural bioinformatics and machine learning approaches to tackle this problem. We complement our research by developing novel fluorescence- and bioluminescence based techniques to measure ligand binding kinetics and kinetics of receptor signalling.

Because the activation of G proteins and arrestins takes time, this project will investigate a hypothesis that the ligand residence time may have a significant influence on the signalling, using cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors as an example. The student will measure the ligand residence time for a test of ligands, and correlate the results with the ability of the ligands to induce signalling response, their efficacies using advanced fluorescence kinetic ligand binding methods and BRET-based signalling biosensors.

We will be delighted to host the student in our laboratory for the summer project of 8 weeks should they be granted the studentship. They will be a part of my group (4 PhD students and 3 postdocs), as well a part of very vibrant Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors, a international flagship research institute focusing of GPCR research and vibrant community of over 20 PhD student and postdocs. This will allow the student to expand their academic network and explore the possibilities for the future career. I can also confirm that we have the funds to cover the research costs for this project.

Project host statement:

Professor Dmitry Veprintsev, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

I think it is very important for students to be exposed to research culture at the earliest opportunity as this allows them to make informed choices about future career steps (eg, Masters, PhD and beyond). Most students we have had (we host two summer students each year) have continued for a PhD, some in my lab and some with my colleagues across the world. I also found it very rewarding to see the development of the students in this relatively short period of time, and appreciate their contribution to the research direction of the lab.

Find out full details of the project here.

 

 

Project 7 - Looking into the use of animals in scientific research: An analysis of non-technical summaries of project applications involving animal use

This interdisciplinary project concerns the use of animals in scientific research. The project will add value to, and benefit from, existing Wellcome funded work on the social and ethical dimensions of animal research.

In the UK, the law requires that all research project applications intending to use animals must include a non-technical summary (NTS). This summary includes the project’s objectives, benefits, predicted harms, and type and number of animals used. The NTS is the only publicly available part of project applications involving animal use and is thus intended to be accessible to lay audiences.

Non-technical summaries are, as the European Animal Research Association describe, ‘widely seen as a positive development in improving transparency on animal research to the public’ and their publication is viewed by the Home Office as helping ‘put the debate on the use of animals in research and testing on a more informed footing’. Given the significance placed on improving openness around animal research since the 2014 Concordat of Openness on Animal Research and the broader science-society contract upon which acceptable scientific use of animals is said to rest (Davies et al. 2020, McGlacken and Hobson-West 2022), the performance of non-technical summaries is thus important to examine.

The function of this proposed project is to provide a content analysis of the existing non-technical summaries. The objective is to provide a novel empirical assessment of what kinds of information they contain. Ultimately, the research aim is to gain insights into whether and how these summaries address the wider openness agenda, help to foster meaningful science-society relations, and whether they fit with stakeholder expectations.

The student will begin the project by reviewing published and grey literature related to the NTS. Detailed guidance will be provided about how best to carry out this task. A sampling criteria for analysis of the 2020 NTS document will then be decided upon. The aim is to ensure that the student has some input into the project design. The student will then undertake a qualitative content analysis of the sample of NTS, with the option to use qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) to do so, and finally write up their findings into a short report. Finally, the student will be given the opportunity to present their work to a small, supportive academic group, such as the Centre for Applied Bioethics (spanning the School of Biosciences and School of Veterinary Medicine and Sciences), or the Animal Research Nexus team (of which the supervisor and Co-I is a part).

Project host statement:

Dr Renelle Mcglacken, Research Fellow, School of Sociology and Social Policy, Faculty of Social Science.

I am an Early Career Scholar and my current research is part of the Wellcome Trust funded programme: The Animal Research Network. This programme looks at the societal dimensions of animal research, with a particular focus on science-society relations. I am particularly interested in how animal research is societally legitimised and one key aspect of this societal negotiation is fostering openness around the practice, an objective with much significance in the current climate.

My motivation for applying for this hosting opportunity is three-fold. First, I am keen to contribute to opportunities for students to reflect on the wider social issues that impact on science and medicine. Second, I would like to gain experience of student supervision and am attracted by this scholarship’s aim to help students from varied backgrounds develop their learning and research skills in interdisciplinary ways. Finally, this project presents a possibility to develop preliminary data for future grant applications which could support my own research career, but also create potential new opportunities for other Masters or PhD studentships.

Find out full details of the project here.

 

Application Form

Applications need to be submitted before 09:00 hours (BST UK time) on Monday 4th April.

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