13th CR@B symposium

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On the 27th of April 2016, CR@B held its 13th symposium at the University of Bath. A variety of academics, healthcare professionals and students gathered to enjoy talks from speakers from all ends of research.

The programme can be found here.

The first speaker of the evening was Dr Jenny Hatchard of the Department for Health at the University. Dr Hatchard is part of the Tobacco Control Research Group, who investigate and evaluate the impact of public health policy, investment and trade liberalisation with regard to health related to tobacco. Standardised plain packaging of tobacco, soon to become compulsory in the United Kingdom, is of great interest and debate in the aim of preventing people starting smoking. Of course, this is due to the undeniable link between smoking and cancer and the huge number of preventable deaths every year.

Professor Linda Bauld, of the University of Stirling, continued this theme of smoking and cancer. Speaking on behalf of Cancer Research UK, Professor Bauld detailed how it is not just lung cancer that is strongly linked to smoking; smokers are at great risk of developing many other cancers. Improving public perception of the risks involved in not just smoking, but also drinking alcohol and obesity, has been shown to increase people's likelihood of taking action to improve their lifestyle and support legislation to curb this risk.

The next speaker was Sophia Sarpaki, a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Sofia Pascu of the Department of Chemistry and Dr Ian Eggleston of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. Her research involves the design and synthesis of imaging and inhibitory agents that are selective for hypoxic tissue, such as that found in tumours.

After a short break and poster session, another PhD student delivered a talk on their research. Lauren Heathcote, of the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford linked with the Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath, is currently investigating a variety of influences on pain in children and adolescents, particularly those who have or have previously had cancer. It is known that different people experience pain differently, and it is also possible to predict how a person will respond to the same pain as another person, based on many criteria such as emotion. This research hopes to identify people who are likely to experience more pain and be able to address this appropriately.

The final speaker of the evening was Dr Sharath Gangadhara, whose research focusses on how the extracellular environment of cells in a tumour affects their response to different drugs. This research is of great interest in treatment of cancer because, the more detail known about a tumour, the greater the likelihood is of treating it successfully. Further research aims to modify this extracellular environment to improve the efficacy of anticancer agents.

Overall, this was another fantastic symposium and a great opportunity for people to network, learn more about each other's research and gain insight into areas of cancer prevention and treatment that were previously unknown.

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