8th May 2017 – Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) System

Andy Canterbury is the business development manager for MC Diagnostics, a small company based in St Asaph, North Wales and they have developed a DNA microarray platform for medical diagnostic testing; the primary application being HLA typing. Andrew has an MSc in Immunology and started worked in the NHS as a clinical scientist, introducing DNA HLA typing into routine use. He then moved into the commercial world as a R&D scientist before progressing towards more business focused roles.

For your body to combat an infection, it requires a mechanism to distinguish what should be there ‘self’ and what is an invader ‘non-self’. This role is fulfilled by proteins on the cell surface of white blood cells, called Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). These molecules can present a major barrier to successful transplantation but by closely matching a patient and donor HLA, the risk of organ rejection is greatly reduced. The methods for HLA typing have developed over the years and today DNA based typing is routinely performed.

HLA-microarray

This image shows their technology. The black dots are a micro array printed in the bottom of a test well. Company software interprets the unique pattern of the dots to provide the HLA result.

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3rd April 2017 – Genes Regulating Ageing

Genes Regulating Ageing and the Quest for Immortality

Dr. Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool.

Ageing-and-immortaly2Hundreds of genes are now known to regulate ageing and have been shown to increase longevity by up to 10-fold in animal models. Drugs mimicking the longevity effects of these genes are now being developed. Studies of species with exceptional longevity (like bowhead whales) or disease resistance (like naked mole rats) may help to improve human health and prevent diseases.

This talk was first presented to Kirkby SciBar 16th August, 2016 and the above information is courtesy their flyer.

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Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

This blog shows all our events, both future and past.

Our next meeting will be at our usual venue on 4th September 2017 (no meeting in August). The topic will be Building Biological Batteries

Please note that the start time will be 19.30 until announced otherwise. The entrance fee will be £2 from the September meeting (free to students and under 21s).

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6th March 2017 – Gravitational Waves

One of our own Knutsford SciBar members, Dr Ian Duerdoth, has agreed to talk to us this month. Ian says:

“I’ll outline our understanding of gravity, firstly as discovered by the brilliance of Newton and then extended by the genius of Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity.  This includes experimental tests and the prediction and nature of Gravitational Waves.

“It has taken decades to develop detectors that are shielded from seismic vibration and are sufficiently sensitive to observe them directly.  The recent discoveries by the LIGO collaboration are presented.  These not only give clear and convincing evidence, for the first time, for the existence of Gravitational Waves but also for the existence of Black Holes and indeed pairs that orbit and coalesce.  We now have a new window of observation on the universe.

“Finally,  there are plans for detectors that are even more sensitive, including LISA which would likely consist of three satellites in solar orbit.”

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6th February 2017 – Farming & Agri-business

It’s two for the price of one at next month’s SciBar, when the joint presenters will be Anthony Clarkson, a local arable farmer, farming over a thousand acres in Cheshire and providing services (spraying etc.) to other local farmers, and Andy Roberts who works closely with Anthony as an agronomist.

Anthony will open with a session on technology in agriculture, for example the use of GPS, and Andy will cover the chemistry and husbandry of growing the crop.

Although neither is an experienced speaker they are both well informed about the controversies involved in striving to improve the amount and quality of food production. They therefore speak from practical authority and will welcome questions and discussion about how the need to feed the world can be achieved.

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9th January 2017 – Hinkley Point Technology

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Hinkley Point Artists Impression

Carolyn Alsop has worked for 30 years as a nuclear engineer. She now works for AMEC Foster Wheeler based at Booths Hall. For the past 6 years she has been working with EDF on the Hinkley Point design.

Her talk will focus on the technology of Hinkley Point, the regulatory process, and the specific changes made to the design for the UK.

She will be happy to take questions on a wide range of related technical topics – including the other reactors that are in the pipeline for the UK (which are all different!!).

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