A Level students from across north London attended the annual open day for the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation last week.

Nearly 100 students listened to talks by four of the institute’s leading researchers. Dr Emma Morris spoke about how gene therapy can be used to treat conditions such as cancer, Dr Mark Lowdell talked about research involving building organs like the trachea.  In addition, presentations on liver disease and on inherited defects of the immune system were given by Prof. Mala Maini and Dr Siobhan Burns.

The event, on Tuesday 23 June, was introduced by Professor Hans Stauss, who spoke about work being carried out at the institute, which will be moving to a new home once the construction of the Pears Building, next to the Royal Free Hospital, is complete.

Students were also given the chance to experience a variety of interactive stands that demonstrated the work being carried out the institute. There was a pipetting competition, origami viruses, a 3D printer and a demonstration of pedigree analysis, which shows how genetic disorders are inherited in a family. The students were also able to speak to the researchers and ask questions about a career in medical research.

Professor Stauss said: “I was pleased local students were able to attend our open day and find out more about the research we are carrying out here. This is a very exciting time in medical research and we leading the way in many areas. For instance, we will soon start a clinical trial for creating replacement tracheas using stem cells and we are currently developing a new gene therapy treatment for blood cancers.Feedback from the students has revealed that they found the day very useful in thinking about their future careers.”

Images: Staff and students at the open day.


Notes to editors

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.