Innovative education and student support
Laidlaw scholar contributes to cancer treatment research
One of our recent scholars was chemistry student Eleanor Smith, who supervised by Professor Stephen Price, has contributed to work that seeks to improve radiation treatment for cancer.
The commonly-used therapy uses high energy radiation to kill cancerous cells but can also be damaging to healthy tissue, which is why a group of academics have been looking at the interaction between radiation and DNA to improve the treatment. Using experimental apparatus, Eleanor was able to record the electron impact ionization spectra of pyrimidine, a research avenue promoted by Dr Lilian Ellis-Gibbings, Research Fellow at the Department of Chemistry.
Despite teething troubles with custom software and no on-site tech support whilst completing the work at home, Eleanor was able to analyse the large data set she had collected the previous summer, which has revealed some surprising results and contributed to the work of the department. The experience has also built her confidence.
It has made me much more self-assured and taught me how to express my opinion in an academic environment.“
Through collaborations like these, students at UCL are equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to become future leaders in their fields, whilst also helping to drive forward the world-leading research at UCL.
PhD home entomology lab supported by Institute of Making
One such story is that of Frederick Sarathchandra, PhD candidate in Cell & Developmental Biology, who is conducting a study on mosquitoes and sound. Through Connected Learning, a programme that facilitates online learning for those working off-campus during the pandemic, Frederick has received support from the Institute of Making (IoM) in setting up a workshop and entomology lab in his garage.
Through this unexpected partnership, Frederick has been able to access the expertise of the IoM team who have advised him on how to work with materials so that he could continue working on his “weird contraptions”, and continue his PhD throughout lockdown. We are sure this is just one of many alliances that have formed in the past year, testament to the adaptability and generosity of spirit of our students and staff.
Arts & Humanities 'Inspiring Minds' online welcome induction week
In September UCL Arts & Humanities launched its innovative six-week programme of online welcome and induction talks, events and activities for students joining them in 2020. They offer practical advice on managing finances, living in London, making friends and adjusting to university life. There are also reading groups, film screenings and discussions, book launches and workshops for students to get involved with.
We may be geographically distant right now, but our ideas have always brought us together in the remarkable community that is UCL. We look forward to moving towards more face-to-face teaching as soon as possible, and to continuing these conversations that have been sparked online. You can explore Inspiring Minds here.
Bartlett 'Race' and Space curriculum
In 2020 we launched a new curriculum for the built environment: ‘Race’ and Space. Developed by The Bartlett specifically for other colleagues and students, it responds to a need for greater understanding of 'race' and how it affects the design of spaces we live and work in.
As well as leading academic papers on the subject, readers will explore aspects of ‘race’ through a broad range of materials including podcasts, performance art, photography, art installations and music. These insights allow us to see and hear people who experience the built environment at its margins, acting as stimulus for social justice through a more informed built environment education and practice.
In October we celebrated the launch of the curriculum as part of our Black History Month campaign, which engaged with over 450 people. You can see again here.