PharmNews

News from Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath

Posts By: Keith Brown

Funding secured for 3 projects

📥  Teaching and Learning

Three departmental projects have attracted funding by the Faculty of Science  Teaching Development Fund:

1. MPharm Inter-professional Learning with University of Exeter Medical Students

The project aims to develop an e-Learning resource that can be used by pharmacy students at Bath, together with medical students at the University of Exeter. The resource will include videos of patients and pharmacists, which are reviewed by pharmacy students before referral to medical students for written prescriptions. These prescriptions are subsequently reviewed by pharmacy students for accuracy and clinical appropriateness.

The project was submitted by Pharmacy & Pharmacology (Lynette James-  Project Leader, Keith Brown and Philip Rogers) and the LTEO (Lisa McIver).

2. Development of Learning Materials for Prospective Students

The aim of this bid is to deliver and evaluate apps for students considering studying at the University of Bath. A key component of the project is that the materials are to be developed by first-year students who will therefore gain extra-curricular digital literacies and presentation skills in the process, suitable for the Bath Award.  In this way, the project will not only deliver bespoke resources tailored to prospective students, but will also enhance our current students’ learning experience.

The project aims to deliver two apps -one for Pharmacy & Pharmacology and one for Physics. It is lead by Keith Brown from P & P, and Fran Laughton from Physics. It involves 8 academics from these departments, and will be evaluated in collaboration with the Widening Participation Office and the Students Union.  For further details please see: http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/keithbrown/?p=86

3. Feasibility studies on the use of Moodle quiz software for automated assessments.

A joint study between Pharmacy & Pharmacology (Philip Rogers and Malcolm Watson) with colleagues in Biology & Biochemistry (Momna Hejmadi, Project Leader) and Chemistry (Andrew Burrows). The project will examine the feasibility of replacing ageing assessment technology with new facilities available in Moodle: Currently the 3 departments rely on a system which involves hard-copy questionnaires completed by students, and manually processed by the department.

This project is a feasibility study to evaluate the use of Moodle Quiz for summative assessments. A mock-up of a MCQ-style test from each of the three departments will be trialled in this study.

 

News from BPS meeting

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📥  Research

A PhD student in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Robin Wickens has won the Pharmidex Poster prize at the British Pharmacological Society's meeting "Pharmacology 2013" held in December.

Robin Wickens (third from left) wins prize at BPS

Robin receiving his prize from the judges at the meeting (left to right: Gary Willars, Barbara McDermott, Robin Wickens and Francisco Molina-Holgado)

Robin presented his poster "Lipopolysaccharide regulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and proIL-1b under normoxic versus hypoxic conditions in cultured (BV-2) mouse microglia".

Robin is working on a project to investigate the role of inflammasome signalling in mediating depression-related behaviours in mice. As a first step in his project, Robin has challenged cultured microglial cells with lipopolysaccharide, a component of bacterial cell walls, under conditions which mimic oxygen availability in the brain. He has found that NLRP3 inflammasome signalling in microglia, in response to LPS, is oxygen sensitive, with 5 % O2 resulting in reduced levels of cytosolic NLRP3 and proIL-1β (compared to 20 % O2). Robin is supervised by Amanda Mackenzie and Sarah Bailey and the project is funded by an MRC CASE Studentship in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutica.

Dr. Sarah Bailey

Using Daffodils to create Cancer Treatments

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📥  Research

Researchers at the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology are exploring the use of natural compounds, in particular those obtained from daffodils called pancratistatin and narciclasine, for the treatment of cancer. These natural products exhibit potent anti-cancer activities and show great promise, however their availability is very limited.

At present, synthesis of these natural products is also very difficult and laborious, hindering future drug development. However, Dr Lorenzo Caggiano and his research group have developed and published new synthetic methodology which gives ready access to derivatives of these compounds. They are currently using this methodology to generate new compounds based on pancratistatin and narciclasine, which are much easier to make than the natural products themselves yet retain their potent anti-cancer activity.

For further information listen to Dr Lorenzo Caggiono talking to BBC Radio Bristol:

http://www.bath.ac.uk/play/video/1388678400

 

Drug Discovery

📥  Research

The Biochemical Society and Portland Press Limited have created a themed collection of papers and resources about Drug Discovery http://www.biochemistry.org/Publications/Journals/DrugDiscovery.aspx that will be freely available for three months. This collection of papers brings together recent work across the cellular and molecular life sciences and highlights the range and breadth of approaches that researchers are employing. Along with this there will be a Biochemical Journal one day symposium on this topic:

Biochemical Journal Symposium 2014

Human Therapeutics: Where Biology Meets Chemistry

20 March 2014

Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, London, UK

http://www.biochemj.org/symposium14/

 

Building Bridges

📥  Teaching and Learning

Keith Brown and Julie Letchford
December 2013

The Video was created by two Fourth Year Pharmacy Students, and is aimed at First Year Pharmacy students

 

by Stephanie Shales and Andrew Lee

Introduction

Like most degree courses in the university, the learning materials for the MPharm degree comprises of a collection of units or nodes where each unit is a repository for digital materials such as powerpoint slides, links to web-sites, assessments and quizzes.This modular structure is the default architecture provided by Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) and academics naturally exploit this arrangement by uploading material into each of the nodes.

However, it is also possible to view the entire collection of nodes as a semantic network where there is a relationship between the nodes. Since Moodle does not provide any underlying infrastructure to express these semantic links, it is possible that this important information could be missing in our degree courses. This project attempts to bridge the gap between units and to discover and articulate the nature of the links for one particular unit, to serve as a proof-of-concept.  It also provides a methodology that can be applied to other units, both within the Pharmacy degree and also for other degrees in the university.

Background

A recent accreditation of the MPharm degree by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) stated that units teaching science and practice needed to be better integrated across the degree programme. This needed to occur both horizontally and vertically i.e. within and between year groups. As a result, this project was devised to address these issues.

The intention was to focus on one subject (Microbiology) in order to establish a methodology for identifying cross-links between units of that subject and other units of the degree programme.  The overall aim is to pinpoint how Microbiology relates to both Clinical Practice and Pharmaceutical Science, and to articulate the relationships in educational content created by undergraduate students.

The choice of 4th year undergraduate students is key. These are the students who have undertaken a large portion of the degree course and will likely have a good understanding of the relationships between units. In fact, it could be argued that these students may have a better overall knowledge of the inter-links than the academics, who typically specialise in the units corresponding to specific-subject areas.  Thus, the objective was to exploit students’ own knowledge and experience and to generate learning materials aimed at both existing and also prospective students.

In addition to the academic objectives, a major component of the project was to improve the digital literacy of students. This was in accordance with the funding that was received from the JISC-funded Professionalism in the Digital Environment (PriDE) project.

Overview

Overview of the project

Results

Two year 4 students were recruited to develop learning material that articulates the links. The students were encouraged to:

•    Maintain a refelective log.
•    Improve their presentation skills
•    Document the links
•    Create a short video for first year students
•    Acquire new digitial skills
•    Acquire an extra-curricular activity suitable for the Bath Award

As a result it is hoped that these activities will lead to increased employability prospects.

A video was produced, aimed at first-year students:

Video - Links to the First Year Microbiology Unit

The detailed links are provided in the following document:

Microbiology Links

Reflective Logs

Reflective Log Stephanie Shale (4th year MPharm)

Reflective Log Andrew Lee (4th year MPharm)

Evaluation

On 11th December 2013, the video was shown to first-year MPharm students as part of the scheduled revision session for PA10282.

Student-survey-questionnaire

Student-survey-results

Conclusion

The linkages between Moodle units is a key area that may have been previously over-looked. Our survey results seem to indicate that around 70% of students would benefit from the provision of learning materials that describes the links between units

 

Interdepartmental Research Afternoon

📥  Research

Monday December 16 2013: 13h30 – 17h30 in 5W 2.3

Dr. Ricardo Resende

A show-case of the research in the Faculty of Science, with a focus on Pharmacy and Pharmacology, as well as a taste of research from Chemistry and Biology and Biochemistry colleagues.  The event included:

  • Posters and conversation in the foyer on level 2
  • Presentations in the adjacent lecture theatre
  • Wine reception and networking

Book of Abstracts of Oral Presentations

reception2 A packed reception
The event was catered to the Faculty of Sciences.
The Dean of Science opened the proceedings, raising the importance of such events where different departments in the Faculty of Science come together and the possibilities for collaborations are present.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor close the proceedings, and then announced the winners of the prizes for best oral and poster presentation.
Best oral presentation went to Ms Wing Sin Chiu, “Application of label-free, stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to the investigation of drug delivery to the nail from nanoparticles”. The prize was announced by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Prof Jane Millar and was given by Ms Jasmin Loo, representative of BMGLabtech, sponsoring the award.
Best poster presentation went to Dr Gerta Cami-Kobeci, “Naltrexone esters as a new therapeutic treatment for drug abuse”. The prize was announced by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Prof Jane Millar and was given by Mrs Maria Connolly, representative of BathASU, sponsoring the award.

The Dean of Science, Professor David Bird, opened the proceedings. He stressed the importance of events where different departments in the Faculty of Science come together and the importance of interdepartmental collaboration in research.

The afternoon consisted of two sessions of presentations from across the Faculty, as shown in the programme below. Work was presented and showcased by early career researchers, including senior PhD students and postdocs.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor closed the proceedings, and subsequently announced the winners of the prizes for best oral and poster presentations:

  • Best oral presentation went to Ms Wing Sin Chiu, “Application of label-free, stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to the investigation of drug delivery to the nail from nanoparticles”. The prize was announced by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Prof Jane Millar and was given by Ms Jasmin Loo, representative of BMGLabtech, sponsoring the award.
    IMG_3653ii
  • Best poster presentation went to Dr Gerta Cami-Kobeci, “Naltrexone esters as a new therapeutic treatment for drug abuse”. The prize was announced by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Prof Jane Millar and was given by Mrs Maria Connolly, representative of BathASU, sponsoring the award.
    IMG_3654ii

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, and look forward to the next Interdepartmental Research Afternoon in the Faculty of Science.

bathasu


BMGLabtech

Programme

Session chaired by Prof Stephen Husbands

13h30 – 13h45 Welcome by Prof David Bird, Dean of the Faculty of Science

13h45 – 14h00 Redox-dependent stimulation of blood vessel formation by nucleoside derivatives, Dr Dina Vara

14h00 – 14h15 Microparticle cell carriers as building blocks for tissue engineering, Ms Kim Luetchford

14h15 – 14h30 Investigating and exploiting the physiology of industrial microbes, Dr Jeremy Bartosiak-Jentys

14h30 – 14h45 hPepT1 – A potential strategy to treat chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer,Ms Ana Cravo

14h45 – 15h00 “You can’t take your eye off the ball”.A mixed methods study of community pharmacists’ workload and the impact this has on patient safety, Dr Hannah Family

15h00 – 15h15 Bio-E – Boosting interdisciplinary research in the Southwest and South Wales, Dr Alison Evans

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15h15 – 15h45 Coffee Break

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Session chaired by Prof Richard Guy

A few words regarding Athena SWAN and Public Engagement, Dr Sarah Bailey

15h45 – 16h00 The impact of pharmaceutical analysis outcome of street crack samples on users behavior, Mr Mohammad Zaher Shehab

16h00 – 16h15 CVD graphene: promising platform for enzyme immobilization towards noninvasive glucose sensing, Mr Bertrand Dupont

16h15 – 16h30 Bacterial mediated lysis of lipid vesicles - Implications for smart wound dressings, Mr Maisem Laabei

16h30 – 16h45 Polymeric Electrospun Mats for Controlled Antibiotic Delivery, Ms Nour Alhusein

16h45 – 17h00 Application of label-free, stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to the investigation of drug delivery to the nail from nanoparticles, Ms Wing Sin Chiu

17h00 – 17h15 What RDSO can do for you and your research? Dr Philip Brown

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17h15 – Poster session, wine, nibbles and prize announcements by Prof Jane Millar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)

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