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The human body is beautiful and complex, however far too big to cover in one evening. Therefore we've selected some great talks from researchers to give you an insight into the amazing world that is your body. This evening you'll venture through the skin into the brain and also take a detour to the joints.
Skin: the human body’s largest organ
Dr Dario Balacco (Post Doctoral Researcher, University of Birmingham)
The skin is like a wall formed of skin cells (the bricks), protecting us from the outside world: against intruders (pathogens), against the damaging effects of the sun, and keeping the right temperature. Skin cells are kept together by proteins (the mortar). Many harmless and friendly microbes inhabit the skin, contributing to its integrity. We will explore the functions of the skin and what happens in a rare genetic disorder, called Epidermolysis Bullosa, that causes changes in the proteins, making the mortar not adhesive anymore and causing skin cells to detach.
Fibroblasts in inflammatory arthritis: friend or foe?
Lucy-Jayne Marsh (PhD Researcher, University of Birmingham)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease, where 30-40% of patients do not respond to current treatments. A specific cell that lives in the joint, called synovial fibroblasts, contribute to disease by producing inflammatory molecules within the joint. Resolution of joint inflammation requires the suppression of these disease characteristics, but the mechanism by which this is achieved is currently unknown. Results from our lab display the potential role of these fibroblasts in both promoting and repairing tissue inflammation in RA, making them an attractive target in disease.
Turning a female brain into a male brain
By activating specific neurons in the brain, scientists have made a female fruit fly behave like a male. How do sex differences in the brain come about and what does this reveal about the way the brain works?