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Since the turn of the century research into using technology within medicine has blossomed, creating the age of biotechnology development. From DNA origami to using microscopic bubbles to aid in bone fracture healing, the night will provide a whistle stop tour of the futuristic biotech research conducted here in Southampton.
Replacing bio-machines - how cochlear implants bridge the gap between the outside world and brain.
Tracey Newman (Associate Professor in Clinical Neurosciences)
One of the ways we sense and respond to our world is by connecting with the soundscape around us. Voices, music, road traffic, wild-life and electronic clicks/beeps are all reliant on vibrating air molecules acting on the bio-machinery of our inner ears. Sensors, or hair-cells, in our inner ears are essential in the machine that converts vibrations into electrical impulses that are interpreted by our brain. Cochlear implants, the most successful of the neuroprosthetics, act as replacement sensors in people with damaged hair cells. We are trying to understand how we can improve these implants.
Bubbles for Bone: Using bubbles and ultrasound to heal bone fractures
Anastasia Polydorou (PhD student)
We’ll be introducing you to a concept which can revolutionise the way drugs are given to treat diseases and how we are planning on using this concept to treat bone fractures. We’ll take you on a futuristic journey where bubbles and drugs are used to treat fractures which cannot heal naturally. The aim is to help the injured site regenerate new bone, therefore healing the fracture. Delivering molecules to the fracture site, which cause stem cells to regenerate new bone, is no easy task. Our aim is to develop a way to achieve this using a regenerating agent, tiny bubbles and ultrasound.
DNA in a material world
Dr David A Rusling (Lecturer in Pharmacology, Principal Investigator in Nucleic Acids)
DNA is known as the molecule responsible for storing genetic information, but it is also a wonderful material for building. By arranging the building blocks of DNA in a particular order, strands of DNA can be made to assemble themselves into almost any object imaginable. One of the advantages of building with DNA is that the structures are exceptionally small - around a billion of them would fit on the head of a pin. This talk will focus on what has been, and can be constructed with DNA and how we exploit DNA as a pin board for other biological and non-biological molecules.