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Bristol scientists take their research to Parliament

Dr Karen Mifsud

PhD student Katy Pellow

stem for britain

Dr Bartosz Naskrecki

1 March 2017

Seven researchers from the University of Bristol will present their work to a range of politicians and a panel of judges as part of a national competition on Monday [13 March] .

STEM for BRITAIN is a poster competition in the House of Commons involving 210 early stage or early career researchers. 

The seven Bristol candidates were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants and are in with the chance of winning a gold, silver or bronze medal and up to £3,000 in each of the five subject categories.

Dr Bryan Bzdek, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Chemistry, will present his chemistry research discussing how atmospheric particles grow into cloud droplets and impact climate.

He said: “It is a great opportunity to demonstrate to policy makers and other non-scientists the fundamental importance of chemistry to our understanding of how our environment works and how we humans can impact it.”

Dr Karen Mifsud, a senior research associate within the Neuro-Epigenetics Research Group, will present her latest bioscience research, conducted together with Professor Johannes Reul.

She will explain recent advances into understanding how the brain copes with stressful experiences. Their work, which challenges existing assumptions about stress responses in the brain, has recently been published in the international renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Karen said: “STEM for BRITAIN represents a great opportunity to showcase our latest research findings to the attending MPs so they can appreciate the importance of continued government support for science, especially in the area of mental health research.”

PhD student Katy Pellow is presenting her chemistry research on 'developing a method to produce advanced biofuels that can be used as a more sustainable, greener alternative to petrol'. She said: “I’m hoping to convey the importance of my research, and will enjoy this unique opportunity to represent the wider scientific community to MPs.”

Number theorist Dr Bartosz Naskrecki will present his mathematics research on Generalized Fermat Conjecture.

He said: “Number theory is an important and beautiful scientific field. Many people benefit from the achievements of great mathematicians which investigated numbers as such so it is important to make people aware of the new directions towards which the field is heading. These new insights might have tremendous impact on our future.”

Final year chemistry PhD student Rebecca Ingle will present her work on how we can use experimental laser methods and computational modelling to understand light-initiated reactions, and research associate Caroline Morris, will present her bioscience research on new vaccine delivery methods.

Evangelos Zympeloudis, a PhD student in the Faculty of Engineering, will present his research on manufacturing of nature inspired designs for the aerospace industry.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.

“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Further information

STEM for BRITAIN was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997 and is a poster competition in the House of Commons involving approximately 210 early stage or early career researchers. It is judged by professional and academic experts.

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from the Clay Mathematics Institute, Research Councils UK, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Society of Chemical Industry, Institute of Biomedical Science and the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research.

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