LAIDLAW SCHOLARS PROGRAMME
“I was very impressed with the Laidlaw Scholars Programme. My Scholar did an excellent job in the lab and generated exciting new data, which she will be able to present in an upcoming international scientific conference. This experience will be incredibly valuable f or her future career.”
Professor Robert Hindges, King's College London
“I think the Programme provides an excellent experience and I was very impressed with our Laidlaw Scholar. Thank you.”
Professor Elizabeth M Nolan, MIT
LAIDLAW SCHOLARS 2019
Left to right: front row: Maurice McCartney (leadership trainer), Lucy Manukyan, Hannah Healey, Rosie Sourbut, Jiaqi Kang, Kristiina Joon, Carolina Earle, Mustafaen Kamal, Karen Walker (programme manager); second row: Petr Jakubcik, Eleni-Maria Athanasiou, Jake Topping, Roshan Karthikappallil, Beth James, Leon Hughes; third row: Alessandra Peters, Dan Park, Ishaan Kapoor, Kayla Kim, Cecilia Hoegfeldt; back row: Jon Machin, Josh Dickerson, Andrew Williams, Franklin Nelson, Phoebe Whitehead.
“Working with my Laidlaw Scholar was a thoroughly invigorating experience as a mentor and scientific colleague. It was a great joy to watch how quickly he mastered the new approaches. The data he obtained will form the basis for a very nice peer-reviewed scientific paper.”
Dr Anthony J. Koleske, Yale University
“A marvellous opportunity for a student to experience the step up to independent professional academic research.”
Professor Jonathan Prag, University of Oxford
A welcome from Lord Laidlaw... Looking around the world’s business and political leaders, we cannot recall a time when better leaders were more urgently needed. We need a new generation of leaders in every field of activity. Leaders who are exceptional researchers; curious, committed to mining data and embracing empirical evidence. Leaders who are ambitious and brave, determined to act with integrity and make the world a better place. Leaders who are true global citizens, appreciating and learning from other cultures and environments. It is why we sponsor the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme and why we are so thrilled that each of you is a part of it. We are very proud of all of our Scholars, what you have achieved to date and what, we have every confidence, you will go on to achieve. Please stay in touch. The newly-launched Laidlaw Scholars Network is designed to create a global community of Scholars. Here you can showcase your research, connect with other topic experts, share leadership challenges, find exciting new roles, and, importantly, give something back
by mentoring new scholars, supporting your peers and joining programmes to help other young people less fortunate than yourselves. Our congratulations and thanks to everyone who has graduated from the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme this year.
Lord Laidlaw, Chairman Susanna Kempe, Chief Executive Laidlaw Foundation
...and from the Careers Service! trained graduates to lead future research. Our scholars had applied themselves across the whole range of subjects to research new truths, make new discoveries, and expand our understanding of the world – from Tajikistani women’s dress to gestational diabetes in Cape Town. We are proud of what our Scholars have achieved in such a short time, and the energy and dedication with which they have worked on their leadership training and academic research. Our guest speakers shared their insights into leadership at the heights of varied organisations – from the Metropolitan Police, to the Civil Service, to the British Library. We are grateful to the Irvine Laidlaw Foundation This autumn, we gathered in the Sheldonian Theatre to for so generously supporting the programme and celebrate the success of the third cohort of twenty-four for enabling these Scholars to make personal and professional Laidlaw Scholars at the University of Oxford. As the Pro Vice connections which will give them the very best start as they Chancellor remarked in his speech, the intersection between go from the University into their careers. Opportunities good leaders and strong research is not yet big enough: such as this are vital for students’ development and we are the Laidlaw programme is to be welcomed for developing delighted that this third year has been so successful.
Director, Careers Service & Internship Office 3
ELENI-MARIA ATHANASIOU History Faculty, University of Oxford
Supervisor: Professor Bob Harris Second year undergraduate, BA History, Worcester College
Commemoration in history is a means by which to keep the past alive in the minds and hearts of future generations; it is an interactive and deeply personal process which requires the recipient to develop an intimate relationship with the event in question. I applied for the Laidlaw Programme in order to further my understanding of the wide-ranging social, political and economic implications of my research topic, the Commemoration of Margaret Skinnider in the 1916 Easter Rising Centenary celebrations. The topic of commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising is one which has generated a great deal of debate, both within Ireland and within the greater context of commemoration and historical responsibility. In September 2019, I visited Dublin in order to begin compiling information and data for my research, which I am still currently undertaking. The trip enabled me to interact actively with the elements of Irish history which I will be exploring, to visit museums, archives and seminal sites, and to become familiar with the academics leading research in this area. Most of my time was spent in the archives and the General Post Office Museum. My work in these spaces is the reason I will shortly be interviewing historians who have helped curated collections on women, commemoration and the state.
My days during my project varied greatly. A lot of my time was spent reading in libraries in Oxford and Dublin, sifting through a huge number of primary documents and secondary reading. However, the most interesting aspect of my research was the interactive one; I spent a week in Dublin - I began by visiting the General Post Office, which was the main site of the Easter Rising. I had the opportunity to discuss commemoration and historical accuracy with the curator of the site, which has been turned into a museum. The museum houses many items which were of great interest: military uniforms, an original copy of the Declaration of the Irish Republic, and several letters to and from revolutionaries who were active at the time. The opportunity to engage directly with these items bettered my understanding of the events as they took place. Furthermore, the museum features exclusive documentary footage from leading Irish historians offering their interpretation of events and their stance on the many debates about responsibility, causation and impact, which I was able to take notes on and explore further at a later date. I spent a long time exploring the city during my stay; the Government has labelled the sites of the Rising, which made my tour of the city enlightening and interactive. I enjoyed several visits to St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle and various other locations which saw a great deal of activity during Easter week.
Although I would have liked the Leadership Programme to be tailored to individuals who want to go into academia, it taught me quite a bit about myself; how to remain composed in stressful situations and handle problems effectively and practically. I feel as though I’ve learnt how to better accept the opinions of others. I have been around like-minded people for most of my academic career, and during the training I found myself clashing with other scholars and the individuals training us – learning to face situations and activities with which I am not necessarily comfortable was very beneficial. The methods we were taught in order to do this through the training are sure to come in handy throughout my professional life. What is more, travelling alone, I found that having the skills to diffuse situations through the methods taught at the training made me feel safer.
I found that from the offset, the process of the Laidlaw Programme helped develop my skills as an academic; the application itself prepared me for my thesis studies and further applications for scholarship opportunities. The interview helped me to overcome my fear of being on the spot and gain confidence in my ability to succeed. I really enjoyed the opportunity to approach academics for their opinions and their assistance in research; it opened up a new world of interaction with individuals I greatly admire and who have followed career paths which I am deeply interested in. Even just going for coffee with professors with whom I have been engaging as a student in order to discuss my project was a very rewarding and unique experience. I have learnt a lot about how to work well under pressure and get organised quickly and effectively.
I believe that the experience of the Laidlaw Programme will be incredibly useful in the future, for several reasons. I feel it will enhance my applications for further studies; the Laidlaw Programme has an excellent reputation and is well-respected in connection with many leading academic institutions. Further, I believe that the opportunity to meet other scholars has been very valuable. I have made some wonderful friends who have helped me to develop new interests and understanding of fields with which I was unfamiliar. The community has been so encouraging and so much fun to be part of. Finally, I feel that the experience of being in charge of my own project and being granted funding in order to pursue an area of interest is one which really changed my view of academia and helped to solidify my love of research and historical inquiry. Without the programme I would have never been given this kind of opportunity as an undergraduate student.
Commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising - A case study of Margaret Skinniderâ€™s contributions. By Eleni-Maria Athanasio
This research was funded and facilitated through the generous contributions of Laidlaw Foundation and the collaboration of Univers ity of Oxford
ing higher X-ray us of s fit ne be l ia nt te po e Th ar energies for macromolecul crystallography a aDepartment
a peth F. Garman Joshua L. Dickerson , Elsord . OX1 , South Parks Road, Oxford
of Oxf of Biochemistry, University 3QU, UK E-mail: email@example.com
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2: Diffraction efficiency estimates the absorbed dose E-3D , a program which • DE calculations in RADDOS there is an approximately that ate indic ons, hrotr at sync (a). during MX data collection gy compared to at 12.4 keV ener X-ray ent incid keV 35 section 1.7-fold increase in DE at photoelectric absorption cross the use beca s arise (a) in energy •The shape shown cross section as incident does the elastic scattering ering cross section falls at a faster rate than scatt pton Com the ever, keV (b). How increases from 2 to 35 in DE above ~35 keV. accounting for the decrease increases with beam energy,
use of • A major issue with the MX is higher X-ray energies for ctor the reduction in dete r highe at quantum efficiency X-ray energies. high • A detector optimised for CdTe energy X-rays, such as a be based detector , must ent used to realise the improvem in DE.
from higher X-ray energies. crystals may benefit further ic • Data collection from micro tron is emitted with kinet by an atom, a photoelec rbed abso is on phot a • When of that shell. gy ener ng bindi the s energy minu sample energy equal to the X-ray and deposit energy in the at cryogenic temperatures • Photoelectrons are mobile g. alisin therm re of the befo e by inelastic collisions exiting the irradiated volum have a finite probability of • These photoelectrons will r rbed dose. sample, reducing the abso to photoelectrons will be highe , the average energy given iated volume • As X-ray energy is increased ability of escaping the irrad prob ter grea a have and so they will travel further [3, 4].
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simulations •A program to run Monte Carlo late the was written and used to calcu hrotron diffraction efficiency of sync energies. experiments at different X-ray •For the experiment – were used with a • Lysozyme microcrystals the size of the microfocus beam to match CdTe detector crystal. A 1M EIGER2 X TRIS) was used (kindly on loan from DEC beamline at on the microfocus FMX NSLSII. energy could • On this beamline the beam 26 keV. be varied between 12.4 and designed for • A polymer chip specially trialled to aid serial crystallography was g experiments these technically challengin
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stigate the effects of incr te Carlo simulations to inve
ctors, the simulations • For silicon based dete ntage in increasing adva little is there ict pred pective of the crystal incident X-ray energy, irres size. sensor material for a • When using the ideal ), simulations predict given energy (d, bottom right old (ranging from twothere is a greater than two-f in DE on increasing Xto four-fold) improvement to 26 keV for all ray energy from 12.4 keV . below and 5 µm size of als cryst riment at NSLSII are •The results of the expe successfully We sed. currently being analy ~20 crystals at two collected good data from analysis is looking beam energies. Early data promising!
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Conclusions: a greater than factor of detector is used, and show 26 keV when a CdTe based of or less. rgy ene 5 µm y of ls X-ra t ysta den rocr inci mic an at and spot' rgy when using microbeams The results reveal a `sweet ene this at y ienc effic on two improvement in diffracti References 1. 2.
Acknowled on ctor quantum efficiency data (DECTRIS) for providing dete We thank Andreas Förster . their detectors. ing me to carry out the work larship for their funding, allow I also thank the Laidlaw scho
3. 4. 5.
Cryst. 46, 1225–1230. Garman, E. F. (2013). J. Appl. T., Schneebeli, M. & Zeldin, O. B., Gerstel, M. & , C., Rissi, M., Sakhelashvili, Disch P., , Trueb V., ci, Radic Zambon, P., A, 892, 106–113. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. 62. Broennimann, C. (2018). Nucl. 458–4 15, ). J. Synchrotron Rad. Cowan, J. A. & Nave, C. (2008 8, 267. & Abbey, B. (2018). Crystals, Marman, H., Darmanin, C. 26, 922–930. F. (2019). J. Synchrotron Rad. E. an, Garm & Dickerson, J. L.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford & Brookhaven National Laboratory, Brookhaven, USA Supervisor: Professor Elspeth Garman
Final year undergraduate, MBiochem Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Oriel College
Structural biologists like to know the structure of proteins so they can better understand how they function and can then design drugs to bind to them and modulate their activity. The most common way of determining the protein structure is to fire X-rays at them. However, the X-rays would destroy a single protein before we get enough signal, so we grow our proteins into ordered arrays in crystals to amplify the signal and get a structure before the X-rays can destroy the proteins. However, there is a growing desire in the field to use smaller and smaller crystals to allow for serial crystallography, where we soak protein ligands (such as drugs) into the crystal and watch a movie of the protein changing structure in response, rather than just capturing the final state of the protein. I wrote simulations, which I refined and released during the project, which suggested that a higher X-ray energy was beneficial for crystallography with small (micron-sized) crystals. During the project I attempted to experimentally validate these simulations at a facility in the US. We managed to establish a working protocol for conducting crystallography of microcrystals at higher X-ray energies.
My daily life varied depending on the stage of the project. For the start and end of my project I was living in Oxford and working at the Department of Biochemistry. After the first few weeks, I spent a week at Brookhaven National Lab, and stayed in a dorm on site. Since we were using a brand new million-dollar piece of equipment that was on loan to us, we were only allowed to collect data with staff on hand so had to restrict data collection to approximately 9am-10pm. The facility was in the middle of nowhere and due to the limited time we had available, I lived on way too much vending machine food for this week. I also spent a week in Vienna at a conference to present my work, which was a much more luxurious week filled with plenty of coffee and cake!
I found the leadership training extremely useful and enjoyable, much more so than I was initially expecting. The trip to Folly Farm was particularly useful in breaking the ice between the group. As well as the leadership training week being an interesting insight into leadership and the dynamics of a team, I found myself using some of the skills learnt during that week during my project and expect to call
on them again in the future. I was supervising a summer student in the lab, and found myself utilising some of the leadership skills we learnt in order to help him get the best out of his project. My project also involved a collaboration between four groups from the US, UK, and Australia, and I could draw on skills from the training week to coordinate everyone and ensure that the experiments went as smoothly as possible.
I was already familiar with my department in Oxford, but the research only furthered my enthusiasm for methods development and structural biology, and I will continue in this field for my PhD and hopefully in my career beyond that. My experience in Brookhaven was amazing. Working ‘in hutch’ at a synchrotron was totally different to working in a lab and felt more hardcore. I was extremely impressed by the staff and the precision of the equipment, and I would consider working as a beamline scientist in the future. My experience definitely did not put me off moving there, even if it did put me off vending machine food… Vienna was of course a beautiful place and the conference was probably the most useful part of my whole project. The discussions I had with other researchers in the field were invaluable and it felt great to speak to them as equals and have them respect my opinion.
My experiences in the Laidlaw Programme have been amazing and incredibly useful. The research I have done will hopefully be useful in advancing the field of structural biology, and I know after the conference I attended that other people are also interested and are already spending millions of dollars on this technology. It was exciting to work at the forefront of science with cutting edge equipment and I will carry the research skills I have learnt during the project with me throughout my career. The skills from the leadership aspect will also be useful in my future, particularly if I am ever lucky enough to have my own research group. The programme has definitely made me think about teamwork and leadership, and in any job in the future I will think more about how I am coming across to people and how I can deal with people better for a more cohesive working environment.
Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford & Columbia University, New York, USA Supervisor: Dr David Howard
Final year undergraduate, BA History and English, Pembroke College
My research project sought to examine the social perceptions of the UN Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I was interested in the commemoration of the slave trade, particularly in America, where memorials have become battlefields, and where there has been a fatal tension between the resistance and the push to reckon with its bloody, racialised, past and present. I had a slightly unusual experience in that I had to change supervisors halfway through my project, and also the mode by which I was collecting my survey data, too, due to site restrictions. However, these challenges and alterations opened my eyes to the practical side of research, and forced me to inventively alter my project which was a learning process I may not have had if not for the bumps in the road! I was able to meet with UN officials and hear about their work first hand, and though I was unable to interview on site, this meant I actually garnered thoughts on memorialisation from survey respondents across America, which was fascinating. My supervisor, Dr David Howard, was incredibly supportive. Importantly, he helped me maintain focus when tempting research spin-offs presented themselves, for which I am really appreciative!
I stayed in Manhattan on the Upper West Side. There were many transport links connecting me to most of New York City, and I would often work in Columbia University’s libraries on the Upper West Side; or in one of NYC’s many coffee shops or public libraries. I attended a conference on 1619 and the Legacies of Slavery there after being pointed to the event by an inspiring Professor, Dr Nadasen, and was also fortunate enough to speak to the formidable Dr Dna-Ain Davis who advised me on literature which would help with my project, and who pointed me to university events and to other academics in the field. I was able to hear Cherre Moraga speak because of this. At a PEN event, I watched an incredible conversation between Salman Rushdie and Marlon James. I visited different memorials in New York City, including the National African American Burial Ground, and the Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial. I also spent a weekend in Washington D.C. In my free time, I enjoyed speaking with lovely, vibrant people from NYC and across America; taking part in NYC’s vibrant events; and visiting beautiful galleries around the city.
I really enjoyed the leadership training element of the Programme. Our training days in Oxford were a really enjoyable way to speak to, and learn from, other Laidlaw Scholars. It meant that when I flew across the world to complete my research, I not only felt a connection to a group of passionate people all conducting their own research, but had learnt skills through which I would be able to confidently present my project during the process.
The learning process was interactive, which was an approach I enjoyed, and watching videos of myself presenting my project with Maurice’s guidance was a concrete and fun way (if slightly cringe-inducing on the first watch!) which attuned me to how I could improve on my presenting style. I also appreciated the flexibility and positive approach to building my own personal schedule, allowing me to complete my ILM Qualification in the coming months. Achieving the qualification at a pace which I hope will fit well with my other commitments makes the thought of continuing my training exciting, manageable, and hopefully means that I’ll be able to really apply what I learn to my next post-graduate steps.
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to live in NYC over the summer. Speaking to those living in the city, exploring Brooklyn, and finding a rhythm in a place across the world was a great learning experience which I hope will help me if I am to move in the future. I most appreciated learning about the state of America through some of its inhabitants: a woman who had seen her neighbourhood transformed by gentrification, for example. Just by being in the city I was struck by its overt racialised poverty; the cultural differences of America which I thought as an anglophile I knew well enough. I loved Columbia’s interactive mode of teaching I observed when sitting in on a class. Importantly, I will never forget the emphasis on activism and research which was propounded and exemplified by the professors and students I spoke to. Navigating NYC’s competing, disquieting, and inspirational spaces touched me profoundly, and all really confirmed my desire to help others in whatever I do: be it research or not. The independence of research was a little daunting at first, but I learnt a great deal about scheduling, organisation, and was bit by bit able to relish the complete freedom of delving into a topic at my own behest, moving away (at least a little I hope!) from the sense of right/wrong which I’d sometimes let restrict me in the past.
The Laidlaw Programme taught me, allowed me to meditate upon and to develop a research project of my own making, which was incredibly exciting and freeing. I was able to mix passion with purpose, and the focus on developing a project with real purchase on our world was important and inspiring to me. The freedom to really develop my ideas and work through the steps to make it a reality gave me great opportunities for growth. Speaking with academics and fellow Laidlaw scholars was one of my favourite parts of the process, too. The Programme has inspired me, and given me the confidence and in this project, the means to pursue the issues I feel are important and relevant to our society. It has made me realise the extensive groundwork sometimes needed to make even small advances in research, but ultimately has confirmed my desire to direct what I do in my life and work to hopefully making a difference one day!
history Evaluating the success and so cial impact of the UN Perman ent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and th e Transatlantic Slave Trade By Car
In 2015, however, the United Nations erected the Ark of Return or the UN Memorial to Honour the Victim s of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. As per the UN’s Missio n Statement, the Memorial “will serve as a reminder of the legacy of the slave trade”, and “raise awareness about the current dangers of racism, prejud ice and the lingering consequenc es that continue to impact the desce ndants of the victims today ”. Is, and if so, in what ways is the Memorial successful in its aims? To study and pose this question to those who engage with sites such as the Memorial is important and neces sary, for if they are deemed as neces sary and powerful by those who visit them, we can provide empirical eviden ce to bolster the cause for building such memorials around the world , or alternatively, understand and locate why this particular memorial has failed in its powerful aims.
Survey respondent locations
(not all locations ascertainable)
p ogra D em
"Past is the past”: Hostility to the long dead phenomenon bearin perceived ‘rehashing’ of a g no relationship or effect on the present. Answers at times vented “get over it”; memorial-building frustration & derision: was “guilt-tripping”. Building of memorials would particularly in the current politic have a negative effect, al climate. Answers seemed to demonstrate how the nexus of present-past-sociopolitics is actualised in debates over memorialisation. Scepticism re. memorials as correc t/ most efficacious means for raising important awareness. Youth education; ability to access the memorial; America’s “other ” issues raised as areas needin focus/emphasis. Alternatively , memorials seen as one eleme g nt of a much larger process of learnin g which needs repeated intervention to be efficacious. Respondents could not comm ent UN Memorial (survey first they’d because had no awareness of heard of it at times), believed there was a need for more public ity. More awareness and education were key to lessening racism and to preventing the repeat of the past’s wrongs; victims of sufferi ng were deserving of honour. One respondent suggested that memorials should be built in all cities in which slavery had been present.
To investigate whether the UN Memorial fills a historical lacun a in our understanding of the Trans atlantic Slave Trade by assessing: (1) The motivation and proce ss behind realising the memo rial (2) The public’s interpretation, perception of, and response to it.
1. Qualitative paper-based survey. Participants recruited via convenience samp ling methods near site of the UN Memorial. Allows for an analysis of those near UN choos ing to interact with memorial. Participants to self-complete questionnaire, minimising interv iewerinterviewee bias, especially as asking potentially sensitive questions (racial/emotive, etc.) 2. Academic literature review examining scholarly writings/theories on different modes of commemoration of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; memo rial aesthetics; the history of slaver y in NYC/USA, etc.
3. Attention to popular/media debates and discussion regarding commemoration/memorials, etc. 4. Visitation of other simila r sites to build a comparative and richer pictur e of differing modes of commemoration in the USA: highlighting similarities/site and locallyspecific approaches to comm emoration, etc.
Challenge/Project re-iteration : Despite correspondence and meeting with UN officials, as a non-UN personnel I was unfor tunately not allowed to conduct surveys on premises of UN Plaza necessitating a re-working of Step 1 participant recruitment.
How important is it that the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade are commemorated in public spaces? •
Sample size limited. To verify and be able to isolate the effect of variables such as age/race/gender/location, a larger and more controlled study is needed. Respondents could not valuab ly comment on UN Memorial as had • never visited & responses off-sit e.
1. Translated print survey to an online Questions for Further Study equivalent (with correspondi ng data • Does the vehement langu age in some openprotection guidelines) using ended survey responses mirro r that of dominant SurveyMonkey platform. Its usermedia outlets in the US? How are opinions friendly interface/active partic ipation formed? & as the reach of the UN Memorial, for in EU-U.S. Privacy Shield one, seems significantly limite • d what are the Framework/anonymisation tools were most meaningful ways of increa sing awareness? amongst reasons for choosing • Comparative studies at other the memo rials would platform. help deepen & build fuller under standing of 2. Distributed survey to Targe • ted memorialization/public respo nses. Audience via the SurveyMon key platform. 3. Collected survey responses from focus It seems that memorials have great potential to be group of 15 Barnard College highly potent, emotive symbo (Columbia ls. This suggests that Uni.) students via online platfo serious efforts to analyse the rm. (research reasons for their social ongoing, data-set not included in outcomes presented on this poster).
This project was completed thanks
meaning, and the best mean s to make them relevant should be necessarily under taken in our times.
to the Laidlaw Scholars Progra mme at the University of Oxford . Additional thanks are due to
Do you believe that more public memorials commemorating (7) victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade/(8) the Transatlantic Slave Trade should be built? Please expand on your answe rs to questions (7) and (8).
General conclusions/thematiz ation of participant responses
The Transatlantic Slave Trade lasted circa 4 centuries (1514 -1866). It alone precipitated the deportation of approximately 17 million enslav ed peoples, of a 25 to 30 million deported from their homes in different slavin g system s. In 2001, the Durban Declaration acknowledg ed “that slavery and the slave trade are crimes against humanit y”. Entire nations – Western Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas – sustained the trade and were built off this system of mass human enslavement and destru ction. Currently, in both scholarship, and, to a significant extent, in the wider social psyche, unresolved and ongoi ng pains related to slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and resistance to proce sses of atonement have come to the fore. Indeed, as in the USA “the intense engag ement over the issue of slaver y signals — as it did in the 1830s, and the 1960s — a crisis in American race relatio ns”, too. In this struggle, memorials are a battlefield. The US Confederac y, synonymous with slavery, and its monuments have become fatal sites. For, “the messages monuments tell are inhe rently understood as part of a society’s collective social and polit ical values.” Yet, despite the inextricability of slavery and violent the Trade from the worldwide past and present, in places such as the “United States , the original sin of slavery and its victims are erased. There are no monument s to slavery, no human face for its victims”.
ions please contact: memorializin firstname.lastname@example.org or earlec email@example.com
…That August, white nationalists rallied in the city to protest the removal of the Lee statue. The rally would lead to the death of 32-year-old counte rprotester Heather Heyer…
For more information/quest
In 2017 Charlottesville's city council voted to remove the two statues [of Confederate generals], saying they were examples of racism.
Dr David Howard (Oxford), Dr
Premilla Nadasen (Barnard),
Though ‘somewhat important’ may be analysed as an expre ssion of ambivalence, if taken as an indication of a low-emphasis agreement with the questions posed to the survey respondent s, we see that the majority of respo ndents affirm that it is important to commemorate both the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its victims. A greater numb er agree that victims should be commemorated as opposed to the Trade itself, suggesting that there is a certain focus and empa thy (or at least, emotiveness) regarding victimhood as oppos ed to the processes of the Trade (economic, etc.). Though demographically, of the survey respondents, there was a larger number of white partic ipants, it is key that no Africa nAmerican responded in the negat ive (i.e. ‘not very important’/’not at all important’) when asked whether victims of, or the Transatlantic Slave Trade , should commemorated in public spaces. Keeping to this trend, no African American survey participants responded ‘no’ when asked whether more public memorials commemorating the victims or the Trade should be built. Memorial-building seems to be of specific restorative value to this community in America.
However, African American respo nses were not homogenous. The belief of some, for examp le, that they were descendant s of perpetrators of the Trade to some extent, and the response by others that they did not all feel personally aggrieved (to a large extent) by the legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade remin ds us – against some media/popu list rhetoric – that issues of commemoration are not simple black:white equations. Those identifying as female seeme d more in favour for commemoration. 18-29 year olds were the age group most in favour of commemorative acts. Whilst there was a trend suppo rting commemoration, the negative answers to questions asking whether the UN Memo rial was successful in its aims seeme d to demonstrate that the design and idiosyncrasies of a build/ site are key. The mere presence of a memorial is not adequately catha rtic to those who deem them important or valuable. Impor tantly, however, only (1) respo ndent had visited the UN site so these conclusions only reveal an imaginative not actual respo nse to the UN site and Memo rial itself.
and the University of Oxford
Laidlaw Programme administrator s and team.
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e es United Kingdom elling approach large populations. Ther 1University of Oxford, Oxford, researched basic mod ding extensions toUniv y, USA tions. ersitmics This project links wellin epidemiology, inclugy getown Geor , for all network configura 3Dep further refinements Biolo and of dyna ence ent the re infer artm erty captu 2 ot prop r France, INSERM, opportunities for easie rrence of new cases cann of communities individuals and the occu tious infec een ularity (i.e. existence betw it lations controlling for mod connection assumed in computer-generated popu use We ses. lem. disea of prob this sponding to different types ip which can overcome of a non-linear relationsh recovery parameters corre We look into the case of transmissibility and agation for different sets lation in which everyone simulate disease prop to for ork) es netw oach the n rs) over the simple popu appr withi hed basic modelling rised by their paramete alent infections (characte equiv This project links well-researc the find to mics epide ined pts in incorporating the obta for lates runthe t attem is then procedur d to to elicit useful patterns. A fittinginfec tionesprea sed te are these and can crea n analy rand ectio conn yone This . om with netwatorks all else communicates for sm ty ever plexi
com erty inference and further opportunities for easier prop , including extensions to large y iolog em epid in ents nem ref on the topic but the d ns. There is some recent research latio oun popu Backgr een infectious individuals betw it in ed m to assu n ods ectio meth r conn lineawellestablished There exist ot capture the dynamics of new s s cann lationcase and the occurrencepopu study epidemic spread over into the case of a look We . tions gura for all network conf they are as long as we assume that ip which can overcome this problem. ionsh non-linear relatmixe d, meaning homogeneous and wellns controlling for r-gen with d populatio teerate pute com unica use comm We can yone ever that es within the network) to uniti m com of (i.e. research by Newence modul om. exist at rand else arity everyone t sets of transmissibility eren dif for ion agat simulate disease prop the possibility dif erent types of Bioglio et al. has suggested to ding spon corre meters and recovery paraarios (which are of mapping real world scen procedure is then run for the obtained tting f A ses. disea of time-variablity and t infections (characterised by n the two curves). complicated because to squares difference betwee the equivalen fitted to minimise the least âepidemicsâ g) tof nd h everyone from simulations of epidemics on networks (the parameters are the known wellwhic n in latio of mixin popu ple linear model to results sim nce). heterogenety para the eneous confere homog over and a ) school Fitting eters m their we decided ts are used (workplace, k datase networ e are small nd thes mixed models poor. So, oma randreal else at Three . es the fit to a linear wellmixed ones communicates with everyone ion in a way which mak ence disease propagat influ orks . netw erns patt ered l clust usefu . elicit analysed to e results suggested that stic simulated scenarios thes 2016 . 16(1) BMC Infectious Diseases. epidemics in closed settings. increasing realism in modeling g disease parameters for A. Barrat, V. Colizza. Recalibratin C.L. Vestergaard, C. Poletto, Source: L. Bioglio, M Génois,
fitting to reali While promising, rity in the model before and to introduce non-linea to consider such networks
four main steps given below. The projects goes through the Step 3: Simulate an epiork netw ic Stat ds Metho Step 1: demic rithm simulation algo such ase dise emics lateare epid Simu The2: –Step lation Simu rithm orkalgo Netw t an ictruc Cons Step 1:–Stat ts network gran very reco thatagat the over ion prop which generates which immunity in the future. reds of Constructing an algorithm if c This is averaged over hund networks with spec specific generates networks with modularity. runs. modularity. Step 4: Fit a non-linear netl pora Tem 2: Step odelparameters of n mthe ass actio mStep 4: Fit linear ds non-on works a ulati Buildsim Step 3: – Use statistical methoel 1 ar mod – Extend the methodelin -line the ng mod t the non-linear to fnon eous mixi homogento compile temporal model to the results sequences with specif c sim from)the elulations. mod ixed ll-m . (we ar arity modul Non-line q (1) p dS = −β × S(t ) × I(t) dt (2) q dI p γ × I(t) = β × S(t ) × I(t) − dt dR (3) = γ × I(t) dt performed in steps 1–3 and Pre-session management is 4. rmed in step prot perfo is ent em otpye Workbench session manag ucted using Flipped class case study cond ng . setti al ation educ entic in auth n and future directions to assess approach sio
Results Simulations and Fitting An original infection
(averaged simulation over the network) is estimated via the linear model and
the non-linear model. When the the latter is used, one of constants is fit and the other is kept constant (equal to
to h were simulated such that nine hundred nodes whic e orks with between two hundred and re er Featur Timonly netw larity was prefered as a featu Modu . We have simulatedOrgani them een betw sation ee of separation modules with medium degr foury Listing . However, there is no comprise three orActivit rch results about the topic 100 due to50recent resea 0)tage 50 ering 100 ad of clust Percen (inste orks orks of face-to-face netw netw Agree y lated real Strongl of simu tic Agree the of e Neutral ent characteris Strongly Disagree Disagrelarity is indeed an inher rm that modu ts confi Resul is found regarding the to y yet nce Surve nce evide e rience evide conclusiv sufficient Figure 1. Learners’ Expe etic scenarios until more rch is still limited to the synth tive ef ect interactions so this resea posi ntial pote and ities f ow of activ ined, ralorks. le neut ceab netw world meters which we have exam of realstructureNoti e.nt fitting for the networks and epidemic para rienc expe eque learnsing cons ers’ lation and learnsimu times as well as overall peak ts from in fit rved The resulon obse the in ssedtion assetra r mode ed 10% non-dlinea Orcishes of ther-le dedl. This bette Gui lated samples) can still exce show a sligh 2:r fitPee Stutlydy (between a fit and the simu ss, the average difference rthele r Neve pute fit. ers). res Com numb squa year ted rst with very little infec least lving 24 Tutors, for ftimes y invo Controlled studhere it is 11.6% excluding the tants fixed. Further .tra load tion tion hes estra (for the example printed of the non-linearity cons orch one ringani had sed easu m always Org weOrc ed aim since catvs. ses, s only Ho cour nsion Ad nce dime 3: to Scie 3 in dy ns Stu isatio optim whether one of them leads and We have done tants cons to r rity orde linea in non- LX used to meatwoators the educ een61 with A-T uctedbetw NAS condction theyintera into stud look d can rolle researchCont . tion estra orch Physical Demand nised tion load. estra orch estras.tion and orga sure most orchcase in tshoc adDem resul rMental pare bette and evidentlycom orchestration.
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to, A. Barrat, V. Colizza. C. Vestergaard, C. Polet  L. Bioglio, M. Génois, realism in se parameters for increasing disea ing librat Reca ). (2015 Diseases. 16. d settings. BMC Infectious close in mics epide ling mode Epidemics on n. (2017). Mathematics of  I. Kiss, J. Miller, P. Simo 806-1. 19-50 8-3-3 07/97 10.10 Networks. ring community et, S. Bansal. (2014). Explo  P. Sah, L. Singh, A. Claus random graphs. BMC with rks netwo ical structure in biolog 86/1471-2105-15-220. bioinformatics. 15. 220. 10.11 leted thanks to the This project was comp y ramme at the Universit Laidlaw Scholars Prog of Oxford.
Faculty of Medicine, Sorbonne University, Paris, France Supervisor: Dr Vittoria Colizza
Final year undergraduate, MMath Mathematics and Statistics, Keble College
I was working on improving the theoretical tools used in making epidemic predictions. In particular, we were comparing a widely-used model for disease spread with a non-explored one, looking specifically at their effectiveness in forecasting spread in a realistic social network. My supervisor was associated with the Sorbonne University and the National Institute of Health in France so I spent nine weeks in Paris. I had weekly meetings with my supervisor as well as the opportunity to go to her whenever I had questions. The group consisted of about ten people working in the same field, so I got to learn a lot about disease modelling in general which provided context for my project. Also, because my supervisor and her lab are very well known in the field, she was involved in the organisation of biweekly seminars and PhD presentations which I could also attend. All in all, this broadened my general knowledge about contagion spread, served as inspiration and helped me form new ideas.
Getting used to the long daily commute was a challenge as I was not used to living in such a big city, but once I adapted to this I started to enjoy the time in the on the metro which I could use to work on myself in areas other than knowledge about my research field. I also benefitted from being in a big enough research group that we often spent our free time together. I could enjoy the city on weekends and saw all the popular as well as the not-so-touristy places there. I really felt at home when I found a nice karate dojo nearby where I could go after work and train a couple of times per week with the coach of the French national team. Summer was also a great season for enjoying a traditional baguette in the beautiful park which was right next to my rented studio or a glass of wine in one of the bustling French cafĂŠs.
I have always wanted to give back and this programme provided me with an unexpected opportunity to do that. We could organise our own outreach initiatives, and I chose to go back to my home school and give an interactive presentation in front of the students about general research, what I do and how they can get into research. Having had the summer research experience as well as previous research training as part of my course in Oxford, I felt like I had the knowledge to share with the children if this caught their attention. The Laidlaw Programme provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about leadership but also immediately practice the acquired
knowledge. This consisted not of only my research project but also this personally designed outreach activity tailored to my experience, schedule and interests. Next year I will be supervising my own student research project!
A feeling I had never fully experienced before was the freedom to do my independent research and explore very individual interests. I had the financial support to visit relevant researchers and advance more quickly with my project and I had the personal support which guided me and helped me grow my experience and take up new challenges with confidence. Also, I had observed some inspirational leadership in my research lab which, alongside the structured leadership training I was getting, made me more aware of how I should approach situations where I can act as a leader. I am now enthusiastic to use this to make a difference.
I want to elaborate again here on the outreach opportunity. I had never imagined that at the age of 22 I would already be supervising a student project inspired by my own research ideas. Thanks to the leadership training, I also think that this joint venture could become a successful contribution to mathematics and education in my old high school. There are two other areas where I believe the programme has been invaluable; these are my plans for the near future. I was hesitant about the future direction of my PhD but the project has given me the opportunity to explore it further before engaging in a three (or more) year doctorate. Now I am convinced of what I want to do and excited for the start of this next stage of my life. Finally, in a very short time I experienced many versatile research situations. I had seen the facility with which my supervisor navigates the projects she is involved in, and the effort she puts into maintaining close relationships with colleagues. I have learnt from a lively group of peers about all the stages of PhD work, I have had situations in which I needed to ask for advice from them and I also experienced the different stages and speeds of a research project myself (from the immense learning curve to the slow progress which can feel daunting but can be overcome with persistence). Having this experience in such a supportive environment has definitely prepared me much better for my research career.
Department of History of Art, University of Oxford Supervisor: Professor Geraldine Johnson Second year undergraduate, BA History of Art, Harris Manchester College
I undertook a research project on the portrait photographs produced by twentieth-century photographer and writer Lucia Moholy, focusing on the images she took in London during the years 19341938. I sought to place these unstudied images in the context of her earlier and better-known work produced at the Bauhaus School, in order to gain insight into how a photographer who considered herself a passive and object artist approached photographing individuals, and how this relates to her architectural and product photography. I was able to gain huge insight into this creative context by visiting the vast holdings of her work at the Harvard Art Museums and an exhibition of her contemporaries working in avant-garde photography in Hamburg. I then worked on her portraits which are held at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and also worked with her texts which were held both in Oxford’s own collections and those at the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Due to the mobile nature of my project, utilising collections in various institutions and collections, the main source of support from my supervisor came in facilitating these visits by providing references. My supervisor also provided project and career support in meetings, helping me to navigate research and think about publications to approach with the outcomes.
While working on the holdings at Harvard Art Museums I stayed nearby in Cambridge and was able to walk in to the museum for viewings and meetings. I found all of the staff there incredibly welcoming and helpful and I was able to meet with the curator specialising in the images I was studying, who gave me lots of advice and tips of other academics to speak to and other institutions to visit. I was also able to visit an exhibition at the MIT Museum which I had been unaware of before arriving. This featured reprints of images by Moholy which are currently inaccessible as they are held in storage in Berlin while the Bauhaus Archiv is under restoration, and this was an invaluable resource to be able to access. Being in Cambridge also meant that Boston was easily accessible and so I spent all of my free time exploring the city and visiting museums and galleries. The rest of my project was based out of London where I live with my husband and so I was able to live and work at home with occasional day trips to the National Art Library and Oxford libraries.
The leadership training was enjoyable particularly as it gave all of the Scholars a chance to meet and get to know one another.
This was helpful in building a support network which I think was important when going off to do our projects individually. I have not yet used the skills and approaches that we covered in my life but do anticipate them being helpful in future projects in which I’ll be working with a group of people with diverse strengths and backgrounds, in order to utilise everyone’s skills effectively. What we discussed made me think a lot more about how colleagues work together and what to consider when approaching working with a team.
My Laidlaw experience was a very positive one. I was relieved and pleased to find that in all of the various institutions I approached and worked with I was taken seriously as a researcher which was a massive confidence boost. The academics I came into contact with were also extremely generous with advice and recommendations which not only helped improve the quality of my research, opening up new avenues of enquiry, but also helped me to begin growing a network of contacts for future research. Working on my Laidlaw project has definitely confirmed my aspiration to go on to work in academia and research and has made me more confident in my ability to do so. My visit to Harvard also gave me the chance to see how large US research institutions and universities operate and has given me knowledge and contacts to utilise in future when considering postgraduate courses and careers.
My experiences on the Programme have been incredibly useful. Because of the Programme I’ve found a research interest that I will be expanding on for my undergraduate thesis and in several projects following that. Being on the Programme also facilitated my contacting a lot of academics that I would otherwise not have had the confidence or felt the legitimacy to do without this project, so I’ve been able to begin to build a network of contacts with similar research interests which I can use for support and guidance moving forward in my academic career. Getting into contact with these academics has allowed me to see what the world of academia is like and what kind of people I’ll be working with. I was lucky that all the people I had contact with at collections and archives were very helpful and welcoming and so the project has reassured me about my future plans.
lucia moholy A pp r oa c h i ng t he I nd iv idual
by Hannah Healey
Moholy saw herself always as a passive artist. In a diary entry written at the age of 21 she described photography as ‘My First Flight into the World’: The interest in photography awoke in me. I am a passive artist. I can capture impressions and would surely be able to record everything from its most beautiful perspective, put them through chemical processes I have learnt and allow them to appear how they affect me... It was through the intellect that Moholy sought to produce images, and by using intellect as a means of approaching the creation of photographs Moholy’s work is representative of the New Objectivity movem ent which emerged in Weimar Germany and which foregrounded an interest in the rational , the objective, of pictorial accuracy and a sense of wholeness of representation.
Lucia Moholy, Bauhaus Building Dessau,
South Face, 1925-26, Harvard Art Museums,
Lucia Moholy, Self portrait, 1930, Bauhaus
The considerable body of work produced by twentie th-century photographer and writer Lucia Moholy is little known due to several process es of erasure that her work underwent. Though the images she produced at the Bauha us and the ways in which they expressed the principles of the school have received some study in recent years, her photographic output produc ed after fleeing Germany in 1933 has received no scholarly attention. In 1934 Moholy established a private portrait practice in London where she photographed prominent figures from British intellectual circles in a manner which was striking ly unlike contemporary portrait photography. Moholy later claimed to have ‘photographed people like houses,’ and her portraits reflect the ways in which her earlier Bauha us photographs articulated the school’s modernist aesthetic, constituting comple x images that present a distinct approach to portraiture. Examination of these images reveals how Moholy perceived and expressed the modern individu al and begins to rehabil itate her creative and intellectual legacy by conside ring her work beyond the Bauha us in order to establish a singular creative identity.
Moholy’s images of the Bauhau s school in Dessau take advanta ge of the sparse open site to create an expansive feeling of space which imagines the Bauhaus as a whole existing solely according to world modernist principles. This sense of wholeness is reinforce Moholy’s documentation of d by the site through seriality, as building s such as the Director’s house were photographed successively from the north, north-east, east, south-east, west and north-west giving south, the impression of capturing the totality of views of the building doing so Moholy communicated . In both a sense of forming a straight forward and objectiv documentary record, and at e the same time rendered the images markers of the modern aesthetic ideals that Gropius ist ’ architecture sought to articula te by underlining the structur defining rectilinearity through es’ many views of their architec tural lines.
Lucia Moholy, Patrick Blackett, 1936,
National Portrait Gallery, London. Lucia Moholy, Bauhaus Building Dessau,
In contrast to the Bauhau s images’ vastness of surroun dings, a unifying feature portraits Moholy produced of the in London is the close crop which has the sitter close picture frame. The field of up to the focus further emphasises this, resting solely on the sitter so that it is only the face of the central features of the face which are in sharp focus. The vast majority of these photographs were taken in a studio with a plain backdrop that provides description of surroundings no or distraction from the figure. In doing so, Moholy distingu her images from those by leading ished portrait photographers of the day such as Cecil Beaton who used elaborate backgrounds, costume and props to stage romantic or dramatic portraits Pictorialist tradition. Moholy in the therefore understood wholene ss within a portrait, the markers the subject’s identity and to the image’s meaning, to be communicated not by sitter’s entire figure framed depicting the by paraphernalia which indicate d wealth or social standing, capturing and presenting what but in Moholy found to be the most important aspect of the sitters; the face and expression. In photographing individuals, she saw the way to let the as to come up close to them, sitter speak describe clearly the most central features of their face and allow the rest to fall away.
Lucia Moholy, Margot Asquith, Countess
of Oxford and Asquith, 1935, National
Portrait Gallery, London.
The features that Moholy described in her portraits and the way she did so was not to flatter her upper class sitters. intended In this regard the portrait of Margot Asquith, countes Oxford and Asquith taken s of when she was 71 years old is particularly interesting. The a full profile portrait lit so that image is her face is cast in shadow and her profile line strongly contrast against the pale backdrop. ed A well-known socialite and wit, Margot Asquith was thought interesting rather than attractiv to be e looking, with a distinctive nose and misshapen lips acquired as a result of a hunting acciden t. In this portrait Moholy emphas ises these features, her crooked nose and slightly ajar lips captured in silhouette; along her jaw, the light catches sagging skin of older age just the so, highlighting it against the shade of her face. The Margot Asquith in a letter words of to Moholy are invaluable in understanding the appeal this unconventional German of sitting for photographer who refused to idealise her subjects: I think your photographs quite wonderful, so do all my friends. They are different from the modern photography which goes in for what might be called ‘beauty parlours’. Your photographs make real men and women, and will be contribu tions to the biography of great and famous people in the future.
View of the workshop through the vestibule
window, 1925-26, Harvard Art Museums,
Moholy’s images of the Dessau buildings underline the dynami c lines of their structures, example in the view of the for workshop wing through the vestibule window wherein Moholy so that the window frame creates stands a distorted oblong silhouetted against the repeated diagona of the panes of glass of the ls workshop wing pushing out from the right to finish all at boxy end of the structure, inside once at the this vestibule window-frame. In her London portraits sitters photographed in three-quarter are profile and from odd angles, seen in the image of Patrick Blackett taken in 1936. Blacket t appears as though leaning with his head turned and looking down to the ground so that the top of his head is visible to the viewer. In this glance features are emphasised his slim by the gently sloping line of his profile against the complemented by the waves backdrop, of his coiffed hair. Moholy ascribed this manner of depictin features to the influence of g modern object photography, describing it as ‘the first time history of photography…the in the sculptural details of the head and the texture of skin, hair, and dress became attractiv nails e subjects to the photographer.’ Perspective could therefore used not only in architectural could be photographs but also in a new type of portrait photogr accentuate the sculptural aspects aphy to of the sitter’s face as lines and forms and textures.
What Moholy valued was not the beauty, wealth, or status of these individuals intellect. Just as she photogr but their aphed the Bauhaus building s so as to articulate and underlin design philosophy that those e the at the Bauhaus believed would create a new and better world, portraits celebrated promine her nt British figures as rational and intellectual individuals, with this same approach that and it was she photographed them.
This project was completed thanks to the Laidlaw Scholars Program me at the University of Oxford Harvard Art Museums and the , National Portrait Gallery.
CECILIA AMBROSIUS HOEGFELDT University of Cape Town, South Africa
Supervisor: Professor Naomi Levitt
Final year undergraduate, BA Human Sciences, The Queenâ€™s College
Africa. I realised that operating within healthcare contexts in a foreign country with a stigmatised topic such as mental health raised several My project aimed to investigate the interrelations between common perinatal mental health disorders (depression and anxiety) and gestational challenges. I faced resistance from healthcare providers who were diabetes (GDM) amongst low-income pregnant women in Cape Town. sceptical about me, my work and its importance. The leadership training The qualitative part of the study aimed to investigate the psychological had taught me to be reflexive, communicate my vision empathetically, needs of women with GDM and how these needs are currently attended and facilitate cooperation rather than creating professional hostility. The training also helped me remember the importance of the attitudes to within antenatal care. The quantitative part of the study aimed to I conveyed; I realised quickly that if I did not seem confident and investigate the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptomatology organised, I would induce insecurity in the vulnerable population I amongst women with GDM. Throughout, my supervisors at the was working with. Finally, the leadership training equipped me better University of Cape Town as well as other academics, students and to communicate my vision and research to key stakeholders within clinical staff have been indescribably helpful. The patient population I was working with turned out to be a lot more sensitive and vulnerable the department of health in Cape Town, to ensure some of the ideas stemming from my research are implemented. than any of us suspected, meaning I needed a lot of support from staff in order to ensure that we attended to the womenâ€™s needs properly. LASTING IMPRESSIONS Without their support, the project would not have succeeded. The Laidlaw Programme has been one of the richest academic and DAILY LIFE personal experiences I have had during my time in Oxford. First I spent the first week or so piloting our research tools to make sure that and foremost, the Laidlaw community has been one of the most stimulating and supportive social spaces I have been part of in Oxford. they were appropriate. I also attended training courses led by a doctor and a psychologist at the Perinatal Mental Health Project at University Correspondingly, my supervisors and my department at UCT were extraordinary and I have really appreciated the way I was viewed as a of Cape Town which aimed to better prepare me and the translators working with me to identify and support women with perinatal mental young researcher rather than an undergraduate. My research partners in Cape Town have been amazing at inviting me to conferences and health disorders. I also spent time trying to establish a referral pathway workshops and been very receptive and supportive around my research for women with common perinatal mental health disorders to make sure we could refer women from our study to psychologists, psychiatrists although it has been quite different to what they normally work on. It or social workers if needed. Once data collection started, I would spend has been such a privilege working on this topic in Cape Town and I am very grateful that the pregnant women I worked with were interested most days recruiting from one maternity hospital in the morning and another in the afternoon. The first weeks were a steep learning curve as and supportive. Their stories and experiences deeply touched me and will undoubtedly stay with me. I had to figure out how to most appropriately identify and recruit the patients that were eligible for our study. I would spend the day recruiting IMPACT participants, conducting in-depth interviews with patients and experts within the field, and providing lay counselling and referring patients if The Laidlaw experience has strengthened my passion for improving necessary. During my stay I also participated in conferences and seminars global health, empowering vulnerable communities and reducing at the local hospitals and universities. I spent a lot of my spare time in health inequity. During my final year at Oxford I was unsure a local boxing club, with students and researchers from the University, whether a PhD was the right path for me, however, my Laidlaw meeting new people and travelling around Cape Town as well as in a experiences have encouraged me to continue research. I realised local dragon boat club. that I truly enjoy research and that it is possible for me to combine a lot of my interests within research. I believe Laidlaw offers a unique LEADERSHIP opportunity to investigate what a research life may be like; in contrast to research placements, we have all been able to define our vision and lead Whilst I thought the leadership weekend was fantastic and I really our own research which is much more like a PhD position. I believe that enjoyed getting to know the other Scholars, I was initially slightly the Laidlaw Programme has enabled me to connect with practitioners critical of the importance of the leadership training. However, even and senior academics, and engage in conversations about funding and in the preparatory phases of my research I realised how the concepts PhD opportunities which I would not have had. I am currently working Maurice had taught us were helpful in relation to dealing with ethics with my supervisors from UCT and professors from Psychiatry at departments at Oxford and in South Africa and developing wellOxford to investigate how I can continue my research between South structured and clear consent forms and interview guides. The training Africa and Oxford. proved to be particularly useful when I started my research in South
Authors - Cecilia Ambrosius Hoegfeldt,
Prof Dinky Levitt, Prof Simon e Honikman and Dr. Kathe
rine Murphy Contact details – cecilia@hoe
An explorative study of com mon perinatal mental health conditions and gestational diabetes (GDM) in Cape Town Background
With growing global focus on early life under initiatives such as ‘The First 1000 Days’, pregnant bodies are incre asingly subject to medical scrutiny (Rich ardson, 2014). Whilst the diagnosis and treatment of GDM have inten sified, the psychological needs of these women and how these needs are curre ntly attended to are poorly understoo d (Byrn and Penckofer, 2015).
Objectives 1. To describe the symptoms of common perinatal mental healt h disorders (anxiety and depressio n) in a cross-section of pregnant women with GDM in the third trimester attending public ante natal care in Cape Town. 2. To investigate the psycholo gical needs of women with GDM and how these needs are currently atten ded to within antenatal care servi ces.
Methods v Study populations – Pregnant women diagnosed with GDM in third trimester and healthcare professionals. v Design – mixed methods sequential v Quantitative – Edinburg Postn atal Depression Scale (EPDS), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD7), GDM knowledge questionn aire, socio-demographics v Qualitative – In-depth semi structured interviews with GDM women and key stakeholders. v Qualitative analysis – them atic analysis
Quantitative results n (Women with GDM) Mean age 52 32.9 years
The project was completed than ks to the Laidlaw Scholars Programm e at the University of Oxford. A special thank you to my supervisors Dinky Levit t, Kathy Murphy and Simone Honi kman. References: 1. Byrn, M. and Penckofer, S. (2015) ‘The Relationship Between Gestational Diabetes and Antenatal Depression’, Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 44(2), 2. Fisher, J., Cabral de Mello, M., Patel, V., Rahman, A., Tran, T., Holton, S., & Holmes, W. (2012). Prevalence and determinants of common perinat al mental disorders in women in low- and lower-middle-in come countries: a systematic review. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 3. Richardson, Sarah S., Cynthia R. Daniels, Matthew W. Gillman, Janet Golden, Rebecc a Kukla, Christopher Kuzawa, and Janet Rich-Edwards. “Don't Blame the Mothers.” Nature 512 (2014): 131-132. Copy at http://j.mp/2ozaF9A
Completed grade 12 57.7%
Psycho-social risk factors
Unintended pregnancy HIV
Comorbidities (e.g. asthma, HPT)
Lone Parenting Unstable living situation Unemployment Perceived social pressure
Prevalence of common perin atal mental health symptomatology Above cut-off (13) EPDS 36.5% Above cut-off (10) GAD-7 40.4% Depression and anxiety 28.9% Either depression or anxiety 51.9%
9.6% 44.2% 32.7% 26.9% 57.7% 52%
Perceived inadequate social supp ort 57.7% Food insecurity 30.8%
Qualitative results Liminal positioning GDM exacerbating everyday life stress
Patriarchal medical care
Cartesian dualism Decontextualization Intersecting stigma
Output v Peer-support group piloting and educational material v Engagement with the Depa rtment of Health, Western Cape v Group discussions and enga gement with healthcare professionals v Facilitation of larger study
Mental health neglect and stigma
Disempowerment of agency
Conflicting medical and public health aims
Silver bullet approaches
Discussion The prevalence of common perin atal mental health conditions globally in ‘healthy’ pregnant high-income countries to 33% women ranges from 10% in in countries like South Africa (Fisher et al., 2012). The exist levels of anxiety and depressiv ing study suggests that high e symptoms characterise GDM pregnancies. These psycholo women’s worries, fears and distr gical challenges as well as the ess are not attended to at pres ent which is linked to resource and cartesian approach to treat scarcity and a patriarchal ing ill-health. Whilst some of the women may require phar experiences of the women large macological interventions, the ly suggest that better informati on prov emotional care may alleviate ision, social support groups and some of these women’s exist integration of ing distress. The high prevalen syndemic rather than inherent ce is likely to be situational and to GDM.
• Sample size prevents asso ciation analyses • Cross-sectional design com plicates comparisons with ‘hea lthy’ pregnant wom
Challenges: • Poor referral pathways for mental healthcare and resource scarcity • Mental health stigma • The poor support for, yet urge nt need for structural changes to expand the field of intervent beyond the body of the pregnant ion woman
Conclusions The existing study suggests the existence of a large unmet need for psychological and social supp income women with GDM. Whil ort amongst lowst causality cannot be establishe d, the findings urge further rese interventions to support and arch as well as empower women with GDM in Cape Town.
University of Central Missouri, USA Supervisor: Professor Micah Alpaugh Second year undergraduate, BA History, Mansfield College
away, we came back to Oxford for a longer, and more sustained course over a week where we assessed our personality types, communication My study looked to address the issue of how emotion was felt and exhibited by the popular masses of Paris during the 1792 revolution. To techniques and presentation skills. Maurice brought in several motivating do so, I plotted 81 incidents of non-violent and violent demonstrations and incredibly interesting speakers to talk to us about their own through 99 days (June 1 to September 6, 1792) in order to reconstruct experiences of leadership (which turned out to be much more varied and stimulating than many of us had thought before we began). The the matrix of popular emotions within Paris. I used Geographic week culminated in several mock interviews and presentations that were Information Systems (ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap 10.7) to geolocate a useful not just for taking our projects into the world of academia, but contemporary map onto a modern topographic map of Paris. The 81 also with possible job interviews in the future. For me this was the most incidents are located by my supervisor, Micah Alpaugh in his study, Non-Violence and the French Revolution; I returned to his sources to useful part of the course. I had always struggled containing nerves before deconstruct them geographically. I then used a slider to start to show the public speaking, but, through conversations with Maurice, I developed rhythm of popular demonstration in the summer of 1792. In addition my own style which, although a bit haphazard, works for me! to these 81 incidents of demonstration, I also mapped 29 marketplaces, LASTING IMPRESSIONS 14 prisons, the 54 sections and 17 stationary political centres including the Tuileries, the National Assembly and the Jacobin Club. My analysis Due to it being out of term time UCM consisted of a very solitary looked to compare the demonstrations to these spaces to start to routine for me. Using the GIS lab on my own, eating on my own and understand how space was used by the popular masses. As well as the playing basketball on my own was not how I envisaged my placement generous ability to use Micah’s sources, and his invaluable knowledge in Missouri, but that did not mean that it wasn’t a useful or interesting and hospitality, the University of Central Missouri and Dr Keshav experience. I’ve never visited America before, and I had a lot of fun Bhattarai were incredibly helpful in giving me access to their GIS lab sampling all the different ‘candy’ and the varied types of Chipotle they and software to begin the project. have. Micah took me to see a game of the Kansas City Royals Baseball where I got an obscene number of hotdogs in all plethora of sauces. DAILY LIFE In Paris I loved zooming around the city on scooters and feeling like a At the start of the research project I lived in a university room in the proper Parisian (albeit with a slightly limited geographical knowledge) small town of Warrensburg, an hour’s Amtrak ride outside of Kansas when my parents came to visit. The time to visit the varied and wide City. My days were spent working in UCM’s GIS lab and sampling range of landmarks and musées of Paris was an experience I adored: the different Chipotle burritos. After work each night I played some seeing Napoleon’s tomb, the Pantheon and climbing (finally – thanks basketball and watched the American Office. A few times I went to to my crippling fear of heights) the Eiffel Tower! stay with my supervisor at his house, where he showed me the local barbeque joints and Harold Truman’s house. After a month in Missouri, IMPACT I flew to Paris where I lived in Montmartre for a few weeks and then near the Place de Bastille. Spending most of my days in the Bibliothèque The Laidlaw Programme has been very informative and one that I’m greatly indebted to. Becoming a researcher for 10 weeks on my own Nationale de France, Site de Richelieu, I had the chance to walk the project taught me a range of skills and lessons that I am glad that I learnt streets which I had been mapping, seeing first-hand the rues that the men and women of 1792 had traversed in their political demonstrations at 20, rather than if I undertook a PhD. The experience was by no stretch of the imagination perfect, but I’m fine with that! Questions that – as well as eating a camembert or two! I wouldn’t have thought of are now firmly placed within my mind going LEADERSHIP forward. Where I’ll be living and working, who will be around as part of my day-to-day routine, who will be part of my research group are all The leadership element of the course was an invaluable aspect, and now much more important to me than I appreciated before the project one that was incredibly useful in equipping me for the challenges I started. As well as this, I’ve also taken away the skills and determination experienced in America. Led by Maurice, the course was moulded to create and sustain a research project in different environments and through feedback and self-reflection which meant that each of us got as much as we could out of it. Beginning with a couple of nights with differing levels of input from my supervisor.
A Cartographic Reconstru ction of the Matrix of Emotions in Revolutiona ry Paris, Summer 1792 A Study of the Em otional Rhythm of Violen t, Non-Violent and
Background and Historiog raphy Three years since the
• Use of Geographic Informatio n Systems (ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap 10.7) to create a modern topographic map of Paris. • Base map (Plan Routier de la Ville et Faubourg de Paris , 1792) geolocated through 8 control points (identifiable locations on contemporary map which can be plotted on modern topographic map). • 81 incidents of non-violen t (Blue) and violent (Red) demonstrations plotted throu gh source mining both primary and secondary sourc es. • Sections (Black Lines), Stationary Political Centres (Green), Prisons (Purple), Mark ets (Light Blue) plotted by primary and secondary sourc es. • ArcMap 10.7 Layout View used to fix map in place, input Legend and Scale Bar for analysis.
overthrow of the Ancien Regim e, the French Revolution, inspir entered the ‘height of agitation’ ed by the motif of ‘liberté, (Alpaugh, 2014) in the summ egalité, fraternité’ had er of 1792. Sans-culotte popu the Terror in early 1793. One lar involvement was at its peak, of the most innovative areas to be felled by in studies of the French Revo focused exclusively on the deput lution, emotional historical mono ies themselves. This study looks graphs have to address this issue regarding popular masses of Paris. To how emotion was felt and exhib do as such, this study has mapp ited by the ed 81 incidents of non-violen (June 1 to September 6, 1792 t and violent demonstrations ) to reconstruct the matrix of throu gh 99 days popular emotions within Paris allow greater nuance and under . Maps can spatially deconstruct standing of how events were sources and distributed and arose; a vital attempting to understand why avenue of understanding for popular political participation historians occurs and is sustained.
• • • • • •
First Wave (Late June)
Demonstrations are events which affect and inspire emotions in both participant and audience; historians can begin to recon by mapping them spatio-temp struct their emotional effec orally, t on the surrounding population Revolutionary Paris, summer s. I have applied this concl 1792. usion to Parisian popular protest arose in three asymmetric waves which peaked on June 20, August 10 A crescendo effect occurred and September 3, respectivel on the Paris ian populace as y. the demonstrative process escal violent) incidents, leading to ated in first non-violent (and a peak which would then be sometimes followed by a process of predo Spatially the wave began in minately non-violent de-escalati residential localities, reach pan-P on. arisian proportions, and then (defined by the confluence of encroach into the central politi the National Assembly, Tuile cal space ries Palace and Palais Royal), The wave model suggests the and then de-escalate back into influence of different communitie localities. s within Paris and the close-knit and more individuals became communication networks as involved in the demonstrative more process. In opposition to the historical theme of the Paris ian sans-culot tes being a violent mass, the dialogue and influence the Paris Paris ian populace looked to ian political elites, through princ engag e in ipally non-violent spatial negot two weeks of June 22-July 7, iation. This dialogue, apart from featured continuous popular political participation during the the period June 1 to September 6.
From Left to Right : Mass meeting , Section Quatre-Vingts (19 June), Journée of June 20, faubourg Saint-Antoine demonstration halted at Louvre demonstration (21 June), Attroupe and Versailles ments in the faubourg Saint Antoine (22 June)
Sources : Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Second Wave (Late July
to Mid August)
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
First Wave : Late June • Arose predominately from the faubourg Saint-Antoine, where it left on June 20 and the central political space. On 21 in the direction of June 22 stayed contained within the faubourg Saint-Antoine. • The political centre of the National Assembly and Tuilerie s Palace the objective of the Journé • Other communities particip e. ated : faubourg Saint-Marcel (June 20), Versailles popular groups (June 21).
From Left to Right : Bretona is Fédérés Arrive and march to National Assembly (July National Guards on Champ 25) Marseillais Fédérés arrive de Mars (July 31), Journée and skirmish with of August 10, Funeral Cortege Attroupements outside Swiss s, Attroupements outside Rightist Guards imprison ed in the Palais Newspapers, Bourbon, Section Arsenal march through National Assembly (August 12)
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Third Wave (Late August to Early September)
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Clockwse from Top Left: violence begins at L’Abbaye and Carmes corteges begin (September 3), , crowds attempts to break into violence continues contained Le Temple (September 2), violence within La Force, L’Abbaye, spreads to La Force, Concier Carmes, spreads to Salpetriere gerie, Chatelet, funeral Hospital, various sections petition the National Assembly (Septem ber 4)
Second Wave : Late July to Mid August • Lasted much longer, feature d more sustained build up • Arrival of the fédéres stimula ted increasing tension and violence through inspiration of other groups, fraternal events and agitations • Non-violent recourse (petitio ns, civic offerings, popular orators) led into some scattere d violence (skirmishes, legislators assaulted) • August 10 engulfed the entire city; violence concentrated around the Tuilerie s, but spread out into central Parisian streets • Visible funeral cortèges bring huge swathes of Parisian population into contact with the trauma of August 10
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Sources: Esri, HERE, Garmin, Intermap, increment P Corp.,
Third Wave : Late August to September • Prisons had been visited in month prior: Palais Bourbon (August 12) and Celestins (Augus • Non-violent expedients : t 29) reactions against rightist press (September 1), popular patrols and 30), Lafayette effigy burning (August 29 (August 28) • Massacres weren’t as definin g as assumed – petitions to Nation al Assembly continued through • Grew in scope from Septem out ber 2 to 3, processions betwee n prisons made violence visible on September 4 moved east to in streets, La Force-Salpetriere-Bicetre locus.
Supervisor : Dr Micah Alpaugh , Associate Professor of History, University of Central Missour i
• Problems of Source Mate rial : Often, especially regar ding the smaller events, the accounts only give a start and end destination, which leads to a certain amount of conjecture about the route of the demonstrat ion. • Impression of Objectivity : The monochromatic symb ology gives impression of even spread of emotional effect. The double implication is that where nothing is plotte d, nothing is happening, which was not necessarily the case; nor did effect stop immediately at the edges of the attroupement. For example, the audio-visual effect of a crowd could disseminate further than its physi cal edges. • Issue of definition : The defin ition of ‘non-violent’ doesn’t extrapolate the nuance of differences in intent and consequences. It homogenises truly passive crowds with those using aggressive langu age or iconoclasm. • Removes nuance of crow d compositions : the metho dolog y gives the impression that the crowd were united in a common goal. Whils t not necessarily the case, the spatia l move ment of all individual s within the attroupement was similar, and hence arose some form of goal convergence. • The larger the area does not necessarily pertain to the larger the attroupement. It can also imply a lack of source specificity
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA Supervisor: Professor Janet Conrad
Second year undergraduate, MPhys Physics, New College
I designed prototypes of mTOMs (muon tagging optical modules) for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. The aim of IceCube is to detect muons produced by light elementary particles from cataclysmic events in the universe, neutrinos which rarely interact with the Antarctic ice. However, a constant background from showers of cosmic-ray muons pollute the cubic-kilometre detector. mTOMs are 20cm rings of plastic scintillator (material which lights up when charged particles pass through) and help pinpoint the trajectory of both types of muons through the array. Its signal is processed and sent to a central data acquisition system. I have performed a series of experiments to optimize this process and assess the feasibility of the mTOM project. It is now clear that they will significantly improve the performance of the observatory’s reconstruction algorithms and thus help identify even more localised sources of high-energy neutrinos in the sky, paving the way to viable neutrino astronomy. My supervisor at MIT is one of the leading figures of neutrino physics and helped me connect with key decision-makers in the international collaboration. Her team’s expertise in designing state-of-the art subdetectors, detectors and upgrade components for experiments like Double Chooz and MiniBooNE was invaluable in striking the fine balance between innovation and feasibility.
Cambridge is a leafy student town and I was lucky to stay in one of MIT’s fraternities on campus. The Laboratory for Nuclear Science was just 10 minutes away from my dorm so I could easily walk every day. The group were exceptionally welcoming and my supervisor would sometimes invite us over for dinner or to a nearby ice cream parlour. I would sometimes meet up for lunch with other Laidlaw Scholars who were in Boston, other times we did fun activities like indoor climbing or going to see a talk by a former NASA astronaut on the anniversary of the moon landing. I celebrated July 4th by joining a group of MIT visiting students for a barbecue and watching the spectacular fireworks display on the river Charles. On the weekends I would go to one of the nearby beaches, and I enjoyed a short staycation in NYC with friends on Labor Day weekend.
Two areas of the leadership training particularly stood out to me. Firstly, the public speaking exercises because I have had to explain the gist of my project to people from various backgrounds multiple times just this summer, varying in length from one sentence to a 30-minute talk. I gained inspiration from others and it was interesting to see what the audience remembered from my talks which I hope will help me make my presentations impactful in the future. Secondly, I thoroughly
enjoyed talks by the guest speakers who came into the leadership sessions and whose stories from their eventful careers complemented or challenged the discussed theories and model exercises. The one guest that stuck with me the most was Baroness Margaret Jay, former Leader of the House of Lords, who had incredible presence and didn’t shun difficult questions including those on the lack of leadership in current politics. Assignments after the course were very streamlined, to-thepoint and primarily intended to sort one’s thoughts on particular aspects of time management, self-development or communication which could help me for example in a future job interview.
My favourite memory from the placement is a trip to Fermilab near Chicago. Members of MicroBooNE, IceCube and IsoDAR collaborations would meet there to share recent progress in their experiments. I gave a short talk on mTOMs and understood better my project’s role in the global picture of neutrino physics endeavours. Prof Conrad also agreed to give me a tour around the facilities on the last day which was an unforgettable experience as she has been involved in planning and operating many of them in the past and present. I was impressed by how much the members of her team would help each other and it was clear that everybody was genuinely enthusiastic about their research. The ability to achieve the near-impossible given the amount of academic and financial support for great projects at MIT was inspiring. On the other side, some aspects of everyday life in the US took getting used to and I sometimes missed the melting pot of disciplines in Oxford, at a university so heavily focussed on engineering and natural sciences.
In order to make a somewhat informed decision at the end of my four years at Oxford, I have been trying to sample varied sub-fields of physics through small research opportunities. Only thanks to the Laidlaw Programme, however, was I able to work with the most renowned scientists this time at arguably the most influential institution in the field without having my hands tied by practicalities. It has given me connections with people who will be at the heart of the particle physics community for years to come. Conducting a more substantial research project has also confirmed to me that pursuing a PhD after my undergraduate degree is the right choice, though my perception of physics as a whole, the relation between theory and experiment, and the way this is reflected in funding, has changed. As an outsider to the field, I could identify many areas where I was ahead of my peers and others I found challenging. Seeing what worked and what turned out to be a dead end in my summer placement will hopefully help me choose my graduate project wisely.
Muon Tagging Optical Mod ules for the IceCube Neutrino Obser vatory Petr Jak ubčík, University of Oxford
Showers of cosmic ray muon s result from a cascade of decays initiated when heavier particles hit the upper atmos phere. In my study, these were obtain ed from a CORSIKA computer model, and analysed in a custom Python simulation to assess how many particles would hit hypothetic mTOMs in the current IceCub e array. An illustration of the quantitative results is given on the right. Legend for custom event viewer: ::::::: the current IceCube and DeepCo re –––– a muon’s trajectory =n charge deposited in a DOM r DOMs used for reconstruction -----arrival time of the photon an mTOM hit
How many cosmic ray muons enter IceCube
300 million in 4 days
How many would hit a single mTOM (6600)
How many hit two or more mTOMs (2)
The mTOM is essentially a slab of plastic scintillator (polystyrene enriched with dopants), which re-emits the energy deposited by a charged partic le like a muon in the form of light (at ~420n m). A silicon photomultiplier mounted to the slab’s smallest side collects the light.
The most useful kinds of events are when a single muon penetrates the array and hits multiple mTOMs far apart. The trajectory of the muon is then given to within the size of a single module (20 cm). My simulation shows that these would occur at a rate of order 1 per day.
Cosmic rays: IceCube’s unexp
Every second, hundreds of cosmic ray muons enter the IceCube Neutrino Observatory located 1.5-2.5 km under the surface at Sout h Pole. Most travel at a speed higher than the spee d of light in ice and emit a cone of Cherenkov radiation. This light is detected by an array of about 5000 phot omultipliers and can be processed to reconstru ct the path of the muon. In a future upgrade, scientists are looking to equi p new optical modules with affordable muon taggers (mTOMs). They will send out a binary signal whe n a muon passes directly through one of them and hence improve the observatory‘s reconstruction algorithms even for muons from genuine neut rino interactions. Cosmic ray muons which othe rwise “pollute” the detector will thus be helping IceCube confirm its status as a pioneer of viable neutrino astro nomy.
This comprises microcells, small P-N junctions which natura lly form depletion regions. When a photon hits this region, it can produce an electronhole pair and start a casca de through collisions with other electrons (provided sufficient potential difference). This lasts until a quenching resistor lowers the bias voltag e and the result is a large peak in curren t which signifies the detection of single or multiple photons. We use the SenSL MicroFC 60035 C-Series. SiPM read-out circuit
~ 20 mV
Double hit event where the error in least-squares path reconstruction would be decreased from 3° w/o mTOMs (blue) to under 0.1°
A second class of events occur s when only a single mTOM is hit. These are far more numerous but only fix one parameter in the line fitting process as described below, in the comp arison of LineFit and an operational “MuFit”. These events can still be used for training purposes but it is essen tial that those where real impro vement is achieved through muon tagging be recognizable in quantities obser ved or simply reconstructed by IceCu be.
~ 400 ns amplification using the LT1807 rail-to-rail operational amplifier
Going forward, the voltage thresh old will have to be fine-tuned to preve nt false positive detections. Working with the faster output (~2ns) of the SiPM presents challenges during amplification and would dema nd usage of a constant fraction discriminator (CFD), as the onset of peaks of different sizes varies.
gradient/intercept given a “photon map” of the event
~ 2.5 V
~ 400 ns
A possible daisy-chained SPI connection of 3 mTOMs in one DOM is descri bed on the left. This would require integr ating simple microprocessors and memo ry as the Master cannot sample mTOMs at all times. An alternative is sending the squar e-wave above to the DOM for processing. That would require more adjustments to the main board.
MuFit (with mTOMs)
“Quality” events where recon struction is significantly enhanced by the presence of single mTOM hits land predominantly in the bottom half of the detector, have low energy (survive longer) and deposit less charge into the array (fewer muons). They also come in from shallower angles from the horizon and fall onto the denser DeepCore strings. Individual histograms are normalized.
CosmicWatch mTOMs have inherited a lot of know-how from the Cosm icWatch outreach programme . These pocket-sized detectors are cheap, easy to assem ble and extremely low-power, which opens up a wide range of physics for enthusiasts and high school students to explore. Find out more about them by scanning the QR code! This project was completed thanks to the Laidlaw Scholars Programme at the University of Oxford. I would also like to thank Prof Janet Conrad and Dr Spencer Axani at MIT for their hospital ity and supervision.
Cardiff University, Cardiff Supervisor: Professor Nikolas Coupland
Second year undergraduate, BA English Language and Literature, Somerville College
My project was an exploratory sociolinguistics research project to begin to understand how the speech, particularly accent and dialect, of Welsh students at the University of Oxford impacts on their perceptions of social, national and academic identities. I have always been interested in how a person’s speech shapes our perception of them and how we can control the way we speak, and by extension our identity, depending on our situation and audience. I wanted to ask: What does it mean to sound Welsh in a place like Oxford? Does this have an effect on the experiences Welsh students have here? Wales has long been the site of original sociolinguistic research as a result of the country’s rich bilingual identity, and numerous studies of Welsh speech exist. However, no studies of speech amongst Welsh students in Higher Education Institutes exists at present; I felt this was a conspicuous absence. The progression of Welsh students to university, especially selective universities like Oxford, lags significantly behind the national average. Could sociolinguistics explain some of this? Professor Nikolas Coupland, who supervised me at Cardiff University, was unfailingly helpful and encouraging, giving me advice on everything from how to conduct interviews with my participants, to the conventions of transcriptions and how to write a research report.
Because my project stemmed from an interest in my own experiences as a Welsh student at the University of Oxford, I completed my placement in my home country of Wales; in fact, in my home city of Cardiff. Moreover, because my interviews were conducted by video call it meant that my day to day routine wasn’t substantially different from what it usually would be. This was great because it gave me enormous flexibility as to how I conducted my project, although I knew my supervisor, Professor Coupland, was always at hand should I need any extra support or advice. The support that the Laidlaw Scholarship gives for travelling to host institutions is unparalleled, and I would recommend taking up such an amazing opportunity, though if your research interests lie closer to home I would stress that this does not at all impact the validity of your research or the enjoyment you will take from conducting your project.
I was initially sceptical about the leadership training, worried that it would be all about motivational quotes and selling yourself, but I
was pleasantly surprised that it took a real-life, practical approach to questions of leadership and gave us the opportunity to discuss models of leadership that could be applicable to our lives in the near future, if not right now. My favourite part of the leadership programme was the time it gave me to get to know the other Scholars, some of whom have become good friends, and to hear about everyone else’s projects. The residential weekend was a real highlight and a welcome break in a hectic term.
When I look back on the summer, the thing that stands out about my experience is the support and generosity that my supervisor, Professor Nikolas Coupland, always offered; he might have suggestions, for example, on how to improve the questions I asked in interviews, or how to structure write ups of my findings, but would always encourage me to think critically about what he was saying, and not simply defer to his authority. This felt strange and a little bit intimidating at first because I was used to working within clearer guidelines about what was ‘right’ or what makes good academic work, but this experience as an independent researcher demonstrated to me that so much successful research is predicated on rigorous critical thinking combined with an openness to new methods, approaches and questions. This gave me a real sense of independence and made me feel that the project was always my own, despite the invaluable advice and guidance Professor Coupland provided.
My Laidlaw research project has been one of the best experiences of my time at Oxford so far. It is an unmatched opportunity as an undergraduate to receive support and funding to conduct a project that is entirely your own. Doing this research has given me a small taste of what a career as an academic might look like, and has proved to me that good research should have real life impact. Furthermore, conducting this research has reinforced that I would like to go on to study for an MA after graduating, and has thrown up some areas that I hope I may be able to continue to work upon and expand in future; I feel that I have come to understand my interests and strengths better through this experience. The Laidlaw Scholarship has helped me to feel confident in myself as an academic, validating my ability to research and think independently and has given me confidence to apply for other scholarships as I continue my studies.
Class, Nation and Voice: S ounding Welsh at Elite English Universities Backg round Sociolinguistics is the study of language diversity in social life. Wales has long been the site of original sociolinguistic research as a result of the cou ntry’s rich bilingual identity, and numerous studies of We lsh speech exist. However, no studies of speech amongst Welsh students in Higher Education Institutes exists at present; I felt this was a conspicuous absence. The progression of Welsh stud ents to university, especially selective universities like Ox ford, lags behind the nation al average. Could sociolinguistic s explain some of this? My pro jec t see ks to und ers tan d how the spe ech , particularly accent and dialect , of Welsh students at the University of Oxford impact s on their perceptions of social, national and academic identities.
Method •15 participants (Welsh student s at Oxford) •20 minute interviews respond ing to a semi structured series of questions •Questions designed to promp t responses focusing on perceptions of class, intelligenc e and national identity •Interviews were audio record ed then transcribed •Close qualitative analysis of resp onses was made to identify patterns and themes
•Class: most students did not feel they had directly encountered classed experience s because of their Welsh identity, though were aware of prevailing stereotypes •One student suggested Welsh speaking people were perceived as ‘country bumpki n[s], sort of proper rural town.’ Aims of Research •Wales as a place of rural poverty was a stereotype acknowledged by all participan ts •Exploratory research project •Class was a prevailing theme - more work to be done! in many interviews and •Focus on tripartite identity: clas students acknowledged its pro s, nation, intelligence minence in Oxford, often •How do these interact? How closely tied with social circles much is each of these factors and political views inﬂuenced by how Welsh stud •National Identity: the authen ents speak? ticity of a Welsh •I wanted to ask: identity within the Welsh com munity in Oxford was What does it mean to ‘sound We strongly linked to an ability to lsh’ in a place like Oxford? speak Welsh by the Does this have an effect on the majority of students interviewed experiences Welsh students have here? •Non-Welsh speaking students were described as ‘fake How do the experiences of We Welsh’ or ‘not quite [Welsh] eno lsh speaking students differ ugh’ to non-Welsh speaking student •Outside the Welsh community s? , speaking Welsh was How do Welsh students feel abo variously seen as pointless, ant ut returning home after iquated and actively terms in Oxford? unhelpful •And, crucially, •Non-Welsh speakers recorded learning Welsh words is there anything the university and phrases in order to amuse could, or should be doing non-Welsh peers - a to improve the experiences of performance of Welshness Welsh students here? •Most students felt their sense of national identity had strengthened since leaving hom e to come to university: ‘I’ve deﬁnitely bigged up the Welsh part a bit more.’ What Next? •Intelligence: most students did not feel their Welsh identity had impacted their stud entship either positively •Lecture to be presented in Ox or negatively ford detailing these ﬁndings & to feedback this data to the •However, a small number bel university as evidence of ieved their some Welsh students’ experie Welshness, especially speaking nces - suggestions for change Welsh, had ? •More research! More evidenc negatively impacted their aca e is needed & similar studies demic potential, one could be conducted: different tutor implying that ‘you’ve put regional accents, different the problems in universities across the UK - a broader picture place for yourself ’ This project was completed than ks to the Laidlaw Scholars Pro gramme at the University of with special thanks to Profess Oxford, or Nikolas Coupland, Cardiff University.
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford Supervisor: Professor Rosalind Rickaby
Third year undergraduate, MEarthSci Earth Sciences, Worcester College
applying for jobs or PhD positions, being in charge of projects and perhaps other people’s work, managing my own time, contacting superiors and people I have never met before and so on. I am currently looking at applying for PhDs, so I do expect that the interview and presentation training we did will definitely come in handy.
I looked at the growth responses of different plankton species to varying concentrations of metals in seawater, and could observe sluggish growth rates under low and very high concentrations due to limitation and toxicity, respectively. These results can help constrain future predictions of oceanic responses to climate change as the plankton species looked at have substantial roles in the global carbon cycle.
Spending this much time together with the other Scholars during the leadership training days allowed us to become a big friendship group. It was really inspiring listening people talk about their projects and then actually seeing the Scholars having completed them
My project was environmental in nature and involved growing microscopic ‘ocean bugs’ in the laboratory under different chemical conditions. I planned and executed the experiment, and wrote a code to analyse the data in order to avoid using Excel.
My supervisor, Professor Ros Rickaby, is the leader of the Ocean Biogeochemistry Group at Oxford, so daily I would interact and work with the group’s members. They taught me about the techniques required in my project, and about laboratory protocols. The department also provided me with the necessary safety training
For me the Laidlaw project took place between my 3rd and 4th year of studies. This was very lucky as I felt that this programme was one of the most useful transitions between bachelor and masters level studies. As a Laidlaw Scholar, one is effectively completely independent, responsible for planning and carrying out their own experiment and free to come up with a time schedule that fits them the best. This was really interesting for me as for the first three years of my studies, the course has been predominantly built upon lectures and tutorials with little space to come up with my own schedule.
As I stayed in Oxford and was living out during the academic year anyway, the logistics of my project were relatively simple. I would say though that most people really do tend to leave Oxford for the I would say that the ten weeks I spent at the department as a Laidlaw summer, so that it can become a bit lonely. I was lucky to meet a group scholar could be summarised as a comprehensive insight into research, of people at the climbing wall the first evening having returned back to including the responsibility, networking, and independence Oxford for the project and make really good friends with them. My experiment involved going into the laboratory every day and effectively measuring the number of cells for each of my cultures. This would take a couple of hours as I had sixty cultures in total, and a subsequent hour or so for data processing. It was important to do this every day at the same time, which meant spending some of the weekends also in the lab. However, as I got to know my cultures and their life cycle better and better, I could start planning my experiments quite carefully in order to avoid going in over the weekends and visiting some places around the UK instead
Having completed the research side of the Programme, I feel a lot more informed about what to expect from continuing in academia. As I am considering applying for PhDs in different countries, I think this is hugely important as now I know what I would want from a potential position, e.g. what kind of group dynamics I prefer, what kind of supervisor, how much structure I would like there to be in the Programme, what is the nature of the work I would be doing.
I would not say the Programme has drastically changed my future plans but definitely made me a lot more aware of aspects that should be considered when applying for a job or an academic position.
The skills I learned were useful and applicable in so many ways -
From a personal point of view, I have definitely learned a lot about what kind of work routine works for me the best, what times of the day I am most productive, etc. The leadership programme made me think about things I would typically consider trivial in a more systematic way, and also forced me to reflect on my own habits and characteristics.
The leadership training days were really fun; it was lovely to explore the topics from a very personal perspective and to interact with the other Scholars. In a way I got to know myself a bit better, and think about everyday situations from a very different point of view.
Effects of varying Fe & Cu co ncentrations on phytoplankton growth Kristiina Joon, Roxana Sha ﬁee, Prof Rosalind
Iron (Fe) and Copper (Cu) are vital to all phytoplankto n in very small concentrations phytoplankton struggle to , hence in regions where their grow. Recently it has been availability drops below a discovered that in some spec certain threshold, them to still function (e.g. ies that are Fe-limited, the Semeniuk et al., 2015). This cells substitute the Fe-sites stud y is looking at the interplay for Cu instead, allowing three species: coccolithopho of varying Fe and Cu concentra re Emiliania huxleyi, and two tions and the resulting growth resp diatoms Thalassiosira ocea onse in nica and Thalassiosira weis sﬂogii.
1. Inoculation Media preparation
Inoculation of culture
3. Harvesting Experimental Analysis
SEM imaging Subculture 3
DIFFERENT PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE OPTIMAL
● Open ocean coccolithopho re Emiliania huxleyi shows an expected response to the ● Species adapted to diffe varying concentrations of Fe rent environments show a and Cu. signiﬁcantly different physiolog So what? Models used to ical response, yet to conﬁrm predict the impacts of futur how and why. e climate change can be adju them more accurate. Copp sted to include to complex er toxicity data is especially ities observed in laborator valuable for policy-making y experiments, making rivers/oceans. to set the bounds of whic h concentrations are allow ed to be released in
References Semeniuk, D., Taylor, R., Bundy, R., Johnson, W., Cullen, J., Robert, iron-limited phytoplankton M., Barbeau, K. and Maldon in the northeast subarctic Paciﬁc ado, M. (2015). Iron-copper interactions in Ocean. Limnology and Oceano Jeyasingh, P., Goos, J., Thomp graphy, 61(1), pp.279-297. son, S., Godwin, C. and Cotner, J. (2017). Ecological Stoichio on Elemental Homeostasis. metry beyond Redﬁeld: An Frontiers in Microbiology, 8. Ionomic Perspective Shaﬁee, R., Snow, J., Zhang, Q. and Rickaby, R. (2019). Iron requirements and uptake strateg ammonia-oxidising archaeo ies of the globally abundant n, Nitrosopumilus maritimus marine SCM1. The ISME Journal, 13(9), pp.2295-2305.
Earth Sciences This project was possible thanks
to the funding from the Laidlaw
n o m ic ex p er ie n ce co -e o ci so g in y ar v T h eÂ ts in th e U K o f P ak is ta n i m ig ra n Mustafaen Kamal
IDIDLALAW W LALA
TH E PR O JE CT
g on two fronts been extremely enrichin The Laidlaw Project has t of view, the poin c emi acad an for myself. Firstly, from really unrivalled. eme presents to you is opportunity that the Sch during an uit purs c emi acad e ersiv Conducting such an imm r, being really heard of. Moreove not is ee degr ate adu undergr onal lore questions of such pers exp to nity ortu opp given the . ilege priv t grea a was importance
ying dealing with was the "var The exact question I was in Pakistani communities with obia oph Islam of experience indicators." across socio-economic case that nt because it is often the The question is importa d as monolithic raye port are ities mun "Pakistani" or migrant com cy has often ia, and governmental poli communities in the Med prevented it has that way nced a non-nua been choreographed in from being effective. gned to get a Laidlaw Project was desi So from the offset, my at stani communities of Gre Paki the into ht insig more accurate
was something I ip aspect of the scheme Secondly, the leadersh course, we the ting duc con to r Prio thoroughly enjoyed. ch helped me training programme whi undertook a leadership and how to style ip ersh lead my ut abo understand a great deal texts. apply it to academic con
FI N DI N G S
M ET HO DO LO G Y
experienced respective sub groups had What proportion of the point? e som at obia oph Islam
interviews with d on three main avenues; My methodology relie source c material and primary emi acad ry nda seco s, migrant I first elled back to Pakistan. trav who s rant mig material from dle class" and "working "mid of s roup subg the had to delimit I eventually fraught with complexity. class," which are terms and income based nal catio edu ific spec e decided to have quit e two groups. indicators to divide thes
tional experiences, ducted were quite emo 1) The interviews I con tions that came emo of trum see the spec it was really touching to experience rant mig the of s. Accounts out during my question as efulness and confusion grat , algia nost of ents included elem stioning. que the ng duri up e motifs that cam
Working Class 0%
the trap that e on this topic falls into 2) The secondary literatur s with Pakistanis as a deal n ofte It er. answ my Project is trying to nitely useful However, there were defi single group in the UK. in the alism Plur and e Rac m, e's "Isla books such as Considin ." pora Dias i stan Paki
ersities and able to observe in univ 3) The sources that I was that were fascinating. Letters stan Paki in ives arch l governmenta s in the 1960s, like the one d love r thei to back migrants wrote e of emotions. interviews, revealed a rang
No Opinion 6%
tation (across s a cumulative represen This pie chart illustrate r migrant thei ed view nts igra sub groups) of how imm such a wide it is impossible to boil experiences. Of course, ers to met para used I word, but experience down to one response d) that an interviewee's (wor gory cate t wha discern point interesting comparison t mos The . into fit would best onded with a resp ents ond resp s Clas was that Middle reas lness" 74% of the time, whe description of "gratefu "gratefulness" with ered answ ents "working class" respond 33% of the time.
One of the most startling group findings was that neither had a particularly positive inside outlook for their futures the United Kingdom, with many of the respondents fears and speaking openly about current insecurities about their irs. This and future state of affa was largely due to contemporary political
is 63% of British Pakistan that fell into my category of "working class" had experienced Islamophobia at some point in their lives. This was five times more requent than "middle 75% class Muslims.
artney for facilitati Walker and Maurice McC team, including Karen ort. Cambridge for his supp you to the entire Laidlaw of k ity than vers us Uni rmo the eno at an hji k Dr. Ali Meg I would like to extend ect. . I would also like to than Proj nity my g ortu rdin opp le rega ts edib s or commen and affording me this incr ect.com for any question tafaen@dilinternshipproj Please do reach out at mus
MUSTAFAEN KAMAL University of Cambridge Supervisor: Dr Ali Meghji
Second year undergraduate, BA Theology and Religion, Harris Manchester College
The exact question I was dealing with was the “varying experience of Islamophobia within Pakistani communities across socio-economic indicators”. The question is important because it is often the case that “Pakistani” or migrant communities are portrayed as monolithic communities in the media, and governmental policy has often been choreographed in a non-nuanced way that has prevented it from being effective. So from the offset, my Laidlaw project was designed to get a more accurate insight into the Pakistani communities of Great Britain. It was really interesting to try and approach this topic from a historiographical approach which my supervisor helped me do. Dr Meghji was really useful in helping to frame my project and he opened my eyes to some archives kept in India regarding migration. So I pursued this avenue in Pakistan and luckily three institutions replied to my emails: The National Museum of Pakistan, The Sindh Assembly and the Federal Archives in Islamabad.
My methodology relied on three main avenues; interviews with migrants, secondary academic material and primary source material from migrants who travelled back to Pakistan. The interviews I conducted were quite emotional experiences, it was really touching to see the spectrum of emotions that came out during my questions. Accounts of the migrant experience included elements of nostalgia, gratefulness and confusion as motifs that came up during the questioning. The secondary literature on this topic falls into the trap that my project is trying to answer. It often deals with Pakistanis as a single group in the UK. However, there were definitely useful books such as Considine's “Islam, Race and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora”. The sources that I was able to observe in universities and governmental archives in Pakistan were fascinating. Letters that migrants wrote back to their loved ones in the 1960s, like the interviews, revealed a range of emotions. My daily life depended on the location I was in. For example, in Cambridge and London, my days were consumed with independent research or taking notes on secondary literature. In Pakistan, I was given access to remarkable archives about migration and the cross pollination of ideas backwards to Pakistan. My life in Pakistan was dynamic in accordance with the informal nature of governance there. For example, the approvals to the various archives that I was able to visit came at completely different times.
This was the most eye-opening part of the Laidlaw Programme. I am so grateful to the Careers Service and Maurice McCartney for opening my eyes to a lot about myself as well as techniques to apply in various situations both within this research project and outside. It was not long after the leadership training that I was able to start the Dil Internship Project which assists students and professionals to intern in developing countries. The personality test training was particularly helpful for this because I was able to understand what I was able to do well for myself and the areas I needed help with. Similarly, during the project itself I was exposed to a lot of unfamiliar situations in Pakistan, and installing the value of empathy into situations really helped me navigate some tricky spots.
The entire Laidlaw experience was full of extreme similarities and extreme differences to the working environment that I am familiar with in Oxford. Cambridge had a very familiar set up and using their libraries and workspaces made for a nice place to assimilate my thoughts. However, conducting my interviews in different parts of London was a great learning curve. For example, many of the people I was interviewing did not really understand what the purpose of my research was at first, so I had to spend a good amount of time explaining that these interviews would help document a largely unstudied part of the Pakistani experience. Similarly, in Pakistan, I was one of the first people to ask about these migrant archives in over two decades and so it was refreshing to see how pioneering academia could be. The Laidlaw Programme has allowed me to be very excited about a potential future in academia, especially in an area that could do with so much exploration.
The Laidlaw Programme has been extremely enriching on two fronts for myself. Firstly, from an academic point of view, the opportunity that the scheme presents to you is really unrivalled. Conducting such an immersive academic pursuit during an undergraduate degree is not really heard of. Moreover, being given the opportunity to explore questions of such personal importance was a great privilege. Secondly, the leadership aspect of the scheme was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Prior to conducting the research project, we undertook a leadership training programme which helped me understand a great deal about my leadership style and how to apply it to academic contexts.
’s College BA History of Art, St. Catherine
ert the colonial conbv su é br ua Bo y ul Br ic ér éd Fr How does in the Can, gs in aw dr ry tu en -c st 21 rly struct of race in his ea University?Project signiﬁcance rd fo an St n, io ct lle co er nt Ce tor Arts llenging mainstream eval-
Issues founded in the was tory Art His peak19th century by German-s had a ays alw has ing scholars and Greek ient Anc on ed bas on can strict beauty ideals sidEven when African art is con narnd gra a of ered, it’s often as part tthe aes ’ arts nic eth ch rative in whi essory to acc as red side con are ics ress”. Western Modernism’s “prog
By cha and uations of Bouabré’s legacy ivity and ject sub st’s arti the r side con marginalagency, I aim to empower history. art y rsif dive and es ised voic in The ch ear res By publishing my gama t den stu est old ’s ISIS, Europe re mo ory hist zine, I aim to make art se tho to ng agi eng accessible and outside the ﬁeld.
Bouabré? Who was Frédéric Bruly nation’s ry Coast. He worked in his Ivo the of e trib té Bé the m s fro Bouabré (c. 1923-2014) wa no art training. a clerk and translator. He had as moniker: ent nm ver go prophet of a new faith. His French colonial the f declared himsel and ion vis s ou igi rel a In 1948, he had o never forgets”. et that he had invented Cheik Nadro, “the one wh anthropologists the alphab nch Fre t stsen he en wh e n began to make small po He ﬁrst rose to fam text combinations. He the and ge ima 453 ay. ng tod usi s ou for the Bété language pencils, for which he is fam ballpoint pen and colored ng showcased Western usi gs ich wh win dra re” d Ter ize la d-s car ““Magiciens de ion ibit exh 9 198 l ina sem He was included in the ry he was in? tive” art. Guess which catego imi “pr as ll we preciated precisely beas art l tua concep rket, Bouabré is largely ap ma art y rar po tem con the Nigerian critic Okwui Although successful in of Africa and Africans. As es typ reo ste rs’ rne ste We to disown or disinhercause his work conforms n writers and critics wish to ica Afr we art of d kin the is is the jeering western Enwezor wrote in 1995, “H ed, as objects of scorn for nak us ve lea to en eat thr sedly ing primitive.” it […] [His pictures] suppo g more than a servile grinn thin no for h wis uld wo o art world, wh
Limitations and how to exp
ld not intersed away in 2014 so I cou Unfortunately Bouabré pas home and studio in Abidjan and semiotic his ings visit draw to of ful on use ecti be ld coll view him, but it wou ght. First-hand access to Cantor rators, to see how he thou bols, colors, repetition. and to speak to his collabo the relationory; and hist analysis of use of text, sym cted ian stru Ivor con is and s, ning l theory, semiotic Semiotics is about how mea ht help us mig ors Reading about postcolonia visit g eyin surv s abré. een image and viewer; mas betw ship iexh nt secondary readings on Bou rece ption. les, curator of the Cantor’s understand Bouabré’s rece Interview with Amanda Map ersity of Oxolars Programme at the Univ . Sch abré law Bou Laid bition on thanks to the well as my supervisor, as y, ersit This project was completed Univ ford Stan Cantor Arts Center, ISIS Magazine. ford. With thanks also to the ks to Zehra Munir and The Oxford University. With than Professor Gervase Rosser,
Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, USA & Department of History of Art, University of Oxford Supervisor: Professor Gervase Rosser
Second year undergraduate, BA History of Art, St Catherine’s College
My project was entitled How does Frédéric Bruly Bouabré subvert the colonial construct of race in his early 21st-century drawings, in the Cantor Arts Center collection, Stanford University? and the end product was to be a magazine article that would help to promote the study of art history as well as challenge a traditional art historical canon that often marginalises subaltern voices. In particular, I sought to overturn the general consensus on Bouabré’s legacy that fetishised him as a primitive draftsman motivated by religious fervour, instead of an intelligent, educated artist whose work was charged with humour and irony. I spent seven weeks in Palo Alto researching this project: reading books and articles on postcolonial theory and Ivorian history, pitching my article to magazines, and visiting the Cantor to view the drawings in its collection first-hand as well as speak to staff about the exhibition on Bouabré that they had recently held. When I returned I began to work on my article, to be published in November by The ISIS, Europe’s oldest student magazine, which I am still going through drafts with my editor for. Stanford University was kind enough to allow me access to its libraries for all of my research, as well as providing assistance through the Cantor.
I stayed in a comfortable Airbnb in Palo Alto and befriended one of the other guests in the house, Owen, who was an undergrad my age also conducting a long-term project at Stanford. I settled in quickly and enjoyed strolling through the town’s bustling downtown area as well as visiting farmers’ markets. I cooked every day in the Airbnb’s communal kitchen with a killer soundtrack coming out of my phone speakers, which gave me a sense of home, and spent evenings reading novels and watching Love Island with Owen. The Airbnb hosts even invited us to their neighbourhood Fourth of July block party. My average day consisted of walking to the Stanford libraries to do research, or reading articles online at one of Palo Alto’s many trendy cafés. I was also able to meet some of my Internet friends for the first time! We founded a magazine together and were now finally able to hang out on some weekends, whether in San Francisco or San Jose. The weather in California was lovely, and Owen and I spent one Sunday morning hiking in the nearby Arastradero Preserve before having a hearty brunch at a classic American diner.
group analysis of Myers-Briggs personality tests. Although my project itself didn’t require leadership as I was working alone, it was really useful in my work for the magazine that I edit, teaching me how to communicate better with my staff and how to plan well for the future. I think that I will definitely be using these skills in the long-term, whether in my personal life or in my career.
It was both thrilling and terrifying to be a researcher rather than a student. Nobody tells you just how difficult research is: the fact that you often spend hours working on something just to produce very few results, yet this time and effort is necessary and all part of the process. And everything you do find is so much more valuable. Because I was mainly working alone up until I began writing my article and communicating with my editor about how to craft it for a magazine, on some days in Palo Alto I could feel lonely or aimless. But creating a good plan was crucial to keeping me on track, as well as speaking to supervisors and peers; even just having someone to listen to you ramble really does wonders for morale. I’m grateful to my housemate Owen for that. I’d never been to California so it was exciting to visit. It was different to how it’s portrayed in the media: the culture there is very much focused on cars and driving, and without access to that, I had less mobility than I’d expected. Thankfully everything I needed was within walking distance, and to go further I could take a cab or the wonderfully vintage-style Caltrain. Especially after seeing the great facilities they have for Art and Art History, I would love to return to Stanford for my PhD, but not before learning how to drive! Overall, the project was enjoyable and an invaluable experience, and it has only motivated me even further to go into academia and challenge myself by doing innovative research first-hand.
The Programme has had a very positive impact on me. It has been so important to have some taste of what it’s like to do real research as an undergrad, and it helped me realise that while I still want to do a PhD in the United States, I should prioritise getting a Master’s degree first since the fact that UK undergraduate degrees are one year shorter than those in the US means that I would have less research experience than my peers going into the PhD. I went into the Programme with the goal of learning how to work independently, and I discovered that it is harder than you think to set one’s own targets and largely LEADERSHIP monitor oneself, to challenge oneself to always strive for better whilst The leadership training programme was unlike anything I’d done also knowing when to be satisfied and avoid impostor syndrome. I will before and really provided insight into what kind of profession I definitely not forget all the things I learned during this project, from might be interested in doing in the future. It was really enjoyable and the recipe for the perfect avocado toast (Trader Joe’s plain guacamole, I got to know the other Laidlaw Scholars really well. I was particularly toasted artisanal bread, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, and paprika) to the interested in the discussion on different leadership styles, as well as the complex navigation between academic and journalistic writing styles.
ISHAAN KAPOOR Yale University, USA
Supervisor: Dr Tony Koleske
Second year undergraduate, BA Cell and Systems Biology, St Hilda’s College
Nerve cells extend processes called dendrites and axons that must make specific contacts and spatially stabilise to ensure proper physiological function. One mechanism of achieving dendritic stability is through the interaction of dendritic transmembrane proteins with proteins found in the extracellular matrix. My research project looked at the potential adhesive interaction between two such proteins: Signal regulatory protein (SIRP), which is found on the membrane of cells and Laminin, which is a major component of the extracellular matrix. To investigate this, I was provided with non-adherent cell lines, antibodies, protein constructs, DNA and the required equipment by my lab in Yale. They also helped me with biochemical and molecular biology techniques to help with my experiments. Ultimately, we resolved that there is an interaction between the two proteins, which opens up a host of further questions that can be explored. We further managed to narrow down the interaction to a single domain of SIRP and an isotype of laminin that is found in the brain.
Since I was at an undergraduate-focussed university, my lab had a lot of experience with undergraduate students and were incredibly sympathetic and patient towards me. While I did not have a fixed schedule, I would spend anywhere between 8-12 hours a day in the lab and would generally complete 2-3 substantial experiments in a week. I managed to find myself a house with other undergraduate students, which helped me settle in as my project coincided with their semester. Travel and conveyance was also straightforward as I had been advised by friends and my supervisor in picking a strategic location to live. Professor Tony Koleske was also incredibly kind and accommodating to any needs and requests, and made an effort to make me feel as though I belonged. All in all, living in a friendly environment while doing work I enjoyed made for an incredible day-to-day experience.
The most useful section of the leadership training for me was the segment on communication. While some of it was intuitive, being shown a map of what effective communication ought to look like is incredibly useful for when one is in a tough situation. Simple tips such as how to organise your body language and the tonality
of your voice is helpful to have in writing when people are being dismissive and unwilling to listen. Subsequently, showcasing this brand of sympathetic behaviour also helps in forging effective interpersonal relationships. The other aspect of the leadership training that helped were the lessons on decision making and strategy. It sounds counterintuitive that a science student benefitted from these, but they helped in understanding my limitations and knowing when I needed to ask for help as opposed to trying to improvise to solve a problem at hand. The one-on-one sessions help in bringing a generic concept such as “communication” down to a personal level where it is applicable to oneself regardless of specialisation.
I have been describing my three months at Yale as the single best summer I have had in recent memory. This is for a few reasons, not least that I made a bunch of friends and met new people, but the work was also incredibly interesting. While I have worked in a lab before, I have never benefitted from the kind of fiscal stability the scholarship offered. It was incredible to not have to worry about the rest of my meals for the month which meant I could devote more time to my lab and work. I would love to return and work for Professor Koleske again as the work and our findings definitely have the potential to develop into a PhD project. Furthermore, on the programme in Oxford I met a lovely cohort of people and made some close friends who I am likely to stay in touch with.
The Laidlaw Programme helped reaffirm my want to go into academia. By allowing me to work in an unknown environment for three months and realising that I did not detest it in hindsight is empirical proof that a career in molecular biology research is definitely meant for me. In addition to corroborating my career ambitions, it helped me better understand what science in the real world looks like. Often Oxford education can focus on the theoretical underpinnings of biology while missing out details such as the time certain experiments take. The programme and research helped me qualify what these look like so that I am considerably better informed going into the PhD application process. I hope to return to Yale at some point next year to continue working on my project!
Understanding the putative ro
le of SIRPÎą as a binding ligan
d for Laminin
Ishaan Kapoor1,2, Anthony Ko
Author Affiliation: 1. University
of Oxford, United Kingdom;
2. Molecular Biochemistry and
Biophysics, Yale University,
â—? Neuronal synapses are the loci of information transfer Ig3 between two neurons. In order to form synapses, the presynaptic and postsynaptic (1-5) neurons need to spatially stabilise axonal and Ig2 dendritic processes. Dendritic spine stability is achie ved by homophilic or protein-ECM interaction of trans membrane Ig1 molecules like Neuroligins. Lack of synaptic stability is the cellular hallmark of cond (1-3) (1-3) itions characterised by learning impairment such as autism. TM â—? Signal regulatory protein Îą (SIRPÎą or SHPS1) belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily of proteins and has three immunoglo bulin like domains (Ig), one transmembrane doma in and downstream phosphatase activity. Itâ€™s role as a ligand for CD47 in immune cells like macrophages has been well documented but its function in neurons is still unknown. â—? Laminin is a fibrous prote in that is replete in the ECM that binds cell adhesion molecules like integrins and is essential for norm al neurodevelopment â—? Laminin knockouts in brain slices have shown reduced expre ssion of SIRPÎą, indicating a putat interaction between the two mole ive cules. In this study, we deter mine whether SIRPÎą binds particular Laminin substrate s and aids synapse stability.
2. Adherence is restricted to Lam inin 521 as a substrate
p < 0.05 * ; 0.01 ** ; 0.001 ***
â—? Western to confirm there is no compensatory expression of integ rin Î˛2
â—? Western Blot to confirm expe cted expression of protein
â—? Gel Electrophoresis to confi rm integrity of DNA constructs
85 78 79
4. Ig3 expression is sufficient for cell adhesion to Laminin 521 Ig1
In the standard binding assay , stopped at varied times, cells transfected for 24 hours with SIRPÎą show greater affinity in adhering to Laminin 521 coated plates at ** concentrations greater than 2.5 Îźg/ml. Readings measured fluorescence due to cell *** binding and were normalised for initial N.S. N.S. cell population per well. Each â€œnâ€? is an ns average of three wells per run
3. Quality control; ensuring exp erimental and ruling out external causes of positive result
The assay was repeated with different ECM * * N.S. component proteins to assess specificity of adherence for Laminin. Different isoforms of the Laminin chains were used ** ** *. to determine specificity of * * N.S. N.S. binding to specific subtypes. Each sample has an â€œnâ€? of 3 averaged across 3 wells. From the results above, it is clear that adherence specificity is for Laminin 521, indicating that SIRPÎą may bind to the Î˛2 chain of Laminin. Hum an laminin Î˛2 deficiency has been shown to cause developmental defects such as mesangial sclerosis and eye abnormalities (Zenker, 2004)
1. SIRPÎą Transfected Cells Pre ferentially Adhere to Laminin 521
â—? HEK cells, with no endogeno us SIRPÎą expression, when trans fected with human SIRPÎą display adherence to Laminin Îą5Î˛2đ?›žđ?›ž1. â—? The phenotype is restricted to only wells coated with Lam inin 521, indicating the Î˛2 chain plays a role in the observed phen otype â—? The expression of only the Ig3 domain of the protein is suffi cient to recapitulate this phenotype, indicating the lamin in binding site may be located on the Ig3 domain of SIRPÎą
Future Steps: *
Fig 1: Individual Ig domain expre ssion tested for significance again st binding of GFP showing Ig3 is sufficient for adhesion phenotype; Fig 2: Ig domain knockouts, not statistically significant at p<0.05 which might be as n is not high enough or the knockout affects protein integ rity
â—? Purify Laminin Î˛2 and narro w down on the amino acid bindi ng sites of SIRPÎą. Check the phenotype of Î˛2 knock-downs and SIRPÎą.knockdown in neuro nal cell culture and try rescuing the phenotype â—? Try to resolve the signalling cascade that might be downstrea m of SIRPÎą. â—? Expression of SIRPÎą muta tions in animal models to asses s effect on development Citations: 1. 2. 3.
Umemori, Hisashi, and Joshua R. Sanes. â€œSignal Regulatory Proteins (SIRPS) Are Secrete Biological Chemistry, vol. 283, d Presynaptic Organizing Molecu no. 49, 2008, pp. 34053â€“34061. les.â€? Journal of , doi:10.1074/jbc.m805729200 Zenker, Martin, et al. â€œHuma . n Laminin Î˛2 Deficiency Causes Congenital Nephrosis with Mesang Human Molecular Genetics, ial Sclerosis and Distinct Eye vol. 13, no. 21, 2004, pp. 2625â€“2 Abnormalities.â€? 632., doi:10.1093/hmg/ddh284. SĂźdhof, Thomas C. â€œTowards an Understanding of Synapse Formation.â€? Neuron, vol. 100, no. 2, 2018, pp. 276â€“293.
â—? The Koleske lab is suppo rted by NIH grants MH115939 and NS105640, a Catalyst Award from the Ralph and Marian Falk Trust, and a Pilot Grant from the Stanley Center for Psych iatric Research. â—? This project was completed thanks to the Laidlaw Scholars Progr amme at the University of Oxford
Expt 2: Assessing healths
due to deterioration of in liquid declines with age Thrashing: Ability to move ons. age (Fig 4) muscle and motor neur 1 buffer was compared with An Aging Population: tive diseases (Fig 1A) Therefore, thrashing movement in liquid S r for most chronic degenera Fig 4C facto 2 (Fig 1B) risk ary prim the is D11 old g 4B s Fig Agin 60 year D7 Fig 4A global population will be over D1 By 2050, almost 25% of the
ntly in xpf-1 and fcd-2 with
ifica ◆ Thrashing declined sign
3 rved with aging . reduced DNA repair is obse4 Increased DNA damage and y. ir drives age-related patholog Loss of efficient DNA repa lifespan and ir has been linked to longer repa DNA tive effec ntly, Consiste 3 5 humans healthspan in animals and ribute equally. all DNA repair pathways cont However, it is likely that not nt to healthy aging? orta imp t mos are s way AIM: Which DNA repair path
Genetically tractable Short lifespan (~25 days) hanisms with mammals Conserved DNA repair mec ipulate Easy to experimentally man
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Previous Research Loss of ERCC1-XPF caus 7 C. elegans (Fig 2A, B)
2 (time in h)
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Nuclear excision repair Homologous Recombination Interstrand Crosslink repair
x x x
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repair mutants Expt 1: Confirming DNA
males (crossover an increase in incidence of DNA repair mutants exhibit C. elegans (Fig 3A, B) in lity letha ic ryon emb defects) and Fig 3A
itive to oxidative stress
ts transferred onto two Lifespan: 100 young adul with 5-fluorodeoxyuridine OP50 plates supplemented sured at 20℃ (FUDR). Survival was mea shorter in xpf-1 Lifespan was significantly was performed for most VA ANO -way One s: istic Stat test was performed for rank Logies. stud an thsp heal analysis pan lifes and s stres ative oxid
N2 xpf-1 * brc-1 (ns) fcd-2 (ns)
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(time in h)
sens ◆ DNA repair mutants are
ERCC1-XPF is involved in
responses. significantly reduces stress Stress resistance: Aging sured by incubating respond to heat stress mea Thermorecovery: Ability to ver overnight. Survival then reco to ing allow then hrs, animals at 37℃ for 2 recorded with age (Fig 5). Fig 5C D11 Fig 5B D7 Fig 5A 80 D1 **
Days of Adulthood
er extent than in xpf-1. ced healthspan, but to a less brc-1 and fcd-2 show redu lifespan. Only xpf-1 shows reduced thy aging ways are necessary for heal Suggests that all three path ility to different stressors eptib susc to lead s esse proc ir Loss of different DNA repa (similar to human DNA effects on different tissues → Could be due to different repair conditions)
repair in a tissue specific man Investigate the role of DNA th. neuronal and muscular heal
ants ◆ xpf-1, brc-1 and fcd-2 mut
displayed increased incidence
Gurkar A. et. al. Annu Rev Biochem Revision (3) Niedernhofer L., References: Population Prospects: the 2017 A. et. al. Redox Biol 2018 United Nations (2017). World et. al. Nature 2006 (7) Gurkar (1) Finkel T. Nat Med 2015 (2) Cell 2019 (6) Niedernhofer L. al. et. X. Tian (5) 2015 Geront 2018 (4) Gurkar A. et. al. Exp
rsity Acknowledgements: lars Programme at the Unive thanks to the Laidlaw Scho This project was completed ct of Oxford. Pittsburgh, and my proje Institute at the University of Special thanks to the Aging for welcoming me to the lab. supervisor Dr Aditi Gurkar pitt.edu ar1@ firstname.lastname@example.org, agurk Contact: roshan.karthikap
ROSHAN KARTHIKAPPALLIL Aging Institute, University of Pittsburgh, USA Supervisor: Dr Aditi Gurkar
First year undergraduate, Medicine – Preclinical, University College
The aim of my research project was to investigate the importance of DNA repair pathways in healthy aging. Globally, the population aged >60 is growing faster than any other age group, and it is predicted that by 2050 this group will make up around 25% of the worldwide population. Age is the primary risk factor for the majority of chronic conditions, and so an aging population is poised to become one of the most significant healthcare challenges of the 21st century. The DNA damage theory of aging posits that genomic instability that occurs throughout life drives age-related decline. Similarly, inherited defects in DNA repair, causing accumulation of damaged DNA, leads to accelerated aging of one or more tissues. However, whether all DNA repair mechanisms are equally important for longevity has not been characterised. This prompted me to investigate the importance of specific DNA repair pathways, while also aiming to characterise their role in maintaining function of different tissues in C. elegans, a type of worm which is genetically tractable, has a short life cycle and shares basic mechanisms of DNA repair with mammals. I benefitted greatly from my supervisor’s expertise in the field; having already published several papers on the subject of DNA damage and aging, she was very well suited to helping me plan and carry out my project.
When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, I’ll admit that I panicked a bit. I was in a new city, in a new country, and had no clue where to start with my project. Luckily, I had an excellent supervisor for my project, who welcomed me into the Aging Institute, introduced me to the team, and guided me through the process of planning, organising, and carrying out my project. On a typical day, I got to the lab by 9 or 10am, looked at my project schedule, and then transferred any worms which needed to be maintained to new plates (basically making sure they didn’t die). In the afternoon, I carried out any planned experiments, and usually left by around 5pm. My work hours were very relaxed, and I pretty much worked for however long I needed to get everything done! While the first few weeks were quite slow, once I got into the main part of my project I often stayed late and went in on weekends just to collect all my data. In the evenings, I explored different parts of the city and talked to anyone I met! Pittsburgh was a really interesting place to live, and I often went to museums, improv shows, and jazz nights around the city. I made friends with a lot of college students after their term started, and really enjoyed getting to know them and learning about the US college experience! I was also very fortunate to be able to travel during the weekends, visiting St Louis MO, Washington DC, and Chicago IL, which provided some unforgettable experiences.
I enjoyed the time spent on the Laidlaw retreat in Folly Farm and the leadership programme. It was a great way to get to know the other members of the 2019 Laidlaw Cohort and make lasting connections. While not everything we learned was directly applicable to my research placement, I found that the sessions on presentation skills and organisation were very useful. Towards the end of my project, I was given the opportunity to present my research to others who also worked on C. elegans. Using the public speaking skills learnt from the leadership programme, I didn’t crumble under the questions which these experts asked me, and even prompted one of them to ask me when I was coming back to Pittsburgh to continue my research! As a medical student, I am sure that the leadership skills which I have learnt from the Laidlaw Programme, including delegation and team management, will be invaluable in my future career as a doctor.
I am very glad I had the opportunity to experience life as a researcher. The Laidlaw Programme provided me with the chance to work creatively on a project I had a deep academic interest in, and it felt very fulfilling to produce original research and present it to people. At Oxford, I find that we learn about subjects at a rapid-fire pace, and you have limited time to really research and understand topics you are interested in, but this project gave me the chance to really delve into my field. I have definitely benefitted from living independently for two months in a foreign country, and from the new responsibility of leading my own project. I believe I am much more inclined to work in a new city or country now, knowing that I can and have done it before! While I’m not sure how excited I am about the work-life balance of Medicine in the US, I would jump at another chance to do research in the States, especially considering how international the labs at the Aging Institute were.
The Laidlaw Programme was incredibly useful to me, and has had a huge personal and academic impact on me. I am currently writing up my project with the hopes to publish, and am working with my supervisor to submit it to several journals. The potential to be the lead author on a medical publication as a first-year undergraduate is something you could not find in any other programme than the Laidlaw Scholarship. Regardless of the academic value, I believe that my time abroad has helped me to grow a lot personally, and the wonderful experiences I have had over the summer will stay with me for a lifetime.
Khujand, Tajikistan & University of Cambridge Supervisor: Dr Diana Kudaibergenova
Second year undergraduate, BA English Language and Literature, New College
My project aimed to explore how nationalism and gender norms in the city of Khujand, Tajikistan, inform women’s perceptions of their clothing. I was originally intrigued specifically by national dress, a crucial piece of Tajikistan’s brand image. I was curious how Khujand's proximity to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and cultural similarity to Samarkand and Bukhara (UZ), affected attitudes towards this brand image. To answer this question, I decided to interview women involved in the fashion industry as fabric sellers, seamstresses, artisans, and designers. Ultimately, I interviewed over 40 women, and broader trends emerged. Tajik tradition informed the cuts of most women's summer attire, but underlying all fashion choice was also the need to be unmistakably modern, whether that meant wearing ready-made clothes imported from Turkey, buying the newest fabrics in the bazaar, decorating necklines with the most sparkles, or wearing fake hair doughnuts under headscarves. In addition, on an individual basis, a woman had to consider her age, her social standing, and the desires of her family: her husband, her mother-in-law, her father-in-law. Family always comes first. My questions changed as these trends emerged, and I heard a broad range of attitudes towards fashion, towards what national fashion is, what tradition is, what it is right to wear. I documented all these interviews, as well as the sartorial choices of women around the city and in several surrounding villages, on film, and am editing together a short documentary. I hope that the perspectives of those involved in the creation of clothing can inform academic understanding of how national identity and individual agency affect dress and what this dress can reveal.
I was kindly hosted in the family home of my research assistant, who also helped me set up meetings and translate interviews. I would wake up early and eat a large amount of bread for breakfast. Then, my research assistant and I would commence interviews. We would speak to 1-3 women every day, either travelling to their workshops or their homes. Interviews were fairly impromptu, as women were too busy in the summer (wedding season) to plan very far ahead. Temperatures would typically reach 40-50 degrees by midday, and if we were exposed to that heat for too long, naps were required. After peak sunlight hours, I would go to the gym, where the small children of the other gym-going ladies begged me to give them dance lessons or tried to run next to me on the gym’s one working treadmill. In the evenings, I would read or go on long walks with my research assistant and her baby son in the park. A few nights, we were invited to other families’ homes as dinner guests, where they would pile the table high with nuts, chocolates, sweets, and fresh fruits
(called ‘spreading the Dastarkhan’) and serve four-course meals. I learned how to dance Tajik-style, how to embroider traditional patterns, and how to cook plov, the three skills a lady truly needs. I interviewed the country’s most famous designers in Dushanbe. I swam in the Tajik Sea. I had to leave the country once due to visa matters and ended up attending several dance parties with semi-nomadic farmers in the mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan, but that’s a different story…
I highly enjoyed the leadership training, as it justified the luxury of thinking about myself for long periods of time. Writing the leadership essays was nothing short of crucial, as the work informed my project. For example, I had never worked with a research assistant before. When I was writing one essay on leading others in workplace settings, therefore, I naturally thought about my current experience navigating an unfamiliar professional relationship in real life. I appreciated the thought frameworks the training provided. As for the training week and weekend away: Maurice is a fabulous storyteller, and I admire how he links anecdotes to ideas. I won’t forget his stories anytime soon. The best part, however, was meeting everyone. I love our Laidlaw cohort!
People have very, very different values in different parts of the world. This seems obvious but it’s one matter to read about women’s lives in a scholarly article and quite another to sit at a girl’s 18th birthday party and hear her family pray she finds a husband this year, or to have them wish a husband upon you, too. So, my overarching impression of Tajik culture is: people care for each other. Community is life. Witnessing this life as an outsider has made me examine my own values from the perspective of an outsider, too.
I realized some surprising truths about myself this summer, from my deep love of bread to my discomfort with being alone. My experience has left me valuing one thing above all: communication. My top priority is now becoming fluent in Russian. With that in mind, I have decided to apply for various teaching programmes in Kazakhstan, so I can spend a full year working on my language skills while sharing the English language with others. The leadership and research skills I’ve gained with the Laidlaw Programme will stay with me. Yet, coming to understand the importance of community has impacted me the most. I look forward to someday working for an international media company in New York City close to my family.
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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge Supervisor: Dr Sjors Scheres
Final year undergraduate, MBiochem Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Corpus Christi College
My research project involved two major components: studying a sub-type of Alzheimer’s disease and exploring ways that we can better study Alzheimer’s without needing patient brain tissue. All the lab work for this was done at the LMB (Cambridge), and I also had meetings with researchers at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and MIT. The most significant characteristic of Alzheimer’s is a buildup of protein filaments in the brain, although exactly how they are implicated in the disease is unknown. With the support of the Scheres group at the LMB, I used cryoelectron microscopy to solve the 3D atomic structure of these filaments in a subtype of Alzheimer’s to a resolution of 3.4 (0.34nm). This allowed a comparison to other Alzheimer’s disease types, as well as to other neuro-degenerative diseases. I also researched approaches to making the filaments artificially to aid the study of Alzheimer’s, by solving a low-resolution structure of them with a chemical that causes artificial filaments to form. My research in this area was greatly helped by discussions with researchers at HMS and MIT about how they approach multi-subunit macromolecular structural studies.
I lived and worked in Cambridge for the majority of my research project, and the members of the research group that I was part of and the broader staff of the LMB were incredibly welcoming and helpful (perhaps helped by the fact that the lab I was in wasn’t part of the university!). A standard day involved a short walk down to the lab, followed by either wet or dry lab work. Lots of thought had to be put into organising timings and deciding what was most important to do as many of the computational jobs I ran took upwards of 24 hours, some as long as a week. Time off involved socialising with my lab group or with friends, or taking the short train journey to do something or meet people in London.
Although I appreciated the potential value of the leadership training, I was initially somewhat dubious about it all. However, I was surprised by the number of interesting and useful elements within it. In particular the weekend away in Hilary and week-long training at the start of the Easter vacation were great times to get to know the other Scholars, as well as really get into discussions surrounding some of the concepts and meanings of leadership. Probably the best part of the training were the external speaker sessions within the week, which gave different angles and approaches to leadership within a real-life context which was both fascinating
and useful. The assignments provided good opportunity to reflect upon my own thoughts and positions and come up with ways to develop them. In all, the leadership training gave space and knowledge to challenge assumptions about what leadership is and involves.
The lasting impressions of my research are hugely positive. Getting to know Cambridge as a city was really good, and meeting and making new friends there was great. Spending full-time in the lab was a highly positive experience (proper research really is like nothing you do in an undergraduate degree), and the largely self-driven and directed project increased ownership and interest within my research. This reinforced my choice to do a PhD following graduation. In particular, the mentorship of a specific post-doc was hugely valuable, both in terms of what I learnt from him about my project but also in broader terms of what it looks like to be a scientist and carry out research. Establishing contacts within the research context of both neurodegenerative diseases and structural biology that I conducted my project, both in Cambridge and Boston, will be invaluable for my future career as I continue into a PhD in the same field. Having the opportunity to visit labs in the US and experience not just the broader social environment but also what the research context is like confirmed my desire to work in the US in the future.
The experience of the Laidlaw Programme, both in terms of the research project that I carried out and everything involved in that and the leadership training, will be hugely useful for the future. The individual mentorship of a post-doc while I was carrying out labbased work taught me valuable lessons for how to approach scientific problems and issues, as well as facilitating me to gain a much better understanding of the research area I was working in. Spending time in the US, and having the opportunity to experience the culture of a research lab in Boston, was both a formative experience in terms of my cross-cultural appreciation, but it also was useful to confirm my desire to conduct work in the US in the future, perhaps for my first post-doc. The whole experience has also helped confirm that continuing into a PhD is the right choice. The process of writing a formal research proposal adds to previous experience and will remain useful as I write project proposals and funding applications both within the immediate and longer-term future. The results I obtained, and publication that will come out of it, will be critically useful for me as I continue my study and career in research.
Cryo-EM studies of the struct ure of Alzheimer’s Tau-amylo id filaments elucidate the dis of PCA and suggest novel appro ease nature aches of in vitro filament gen eration. A1. Introduction Jonathan Mac
A2. Posterior Cortical Atrophy
B2. In vitro filament formatio
n using Arachidonic
Figure 2: (A) Class averages and final model projections of SF and PHF compared. (B) Density models of the PHF and SF filaments. (C) Micrograph (blue: PHF; green: SF). (D) Residue model of the PHF4.
Fitzpatrick et al. Nature 547: 1 (2017). ‘Cryo-EM structures of tau filaments from Alzheimer ’s disease.’ B Falcon et al. Nature 568: 420 (2019). ‘Novel tau filam ent fold in chronic traumatic encephalopathy enclo ses hydrophobic molecules.’ 3B Falcon et al. Nature 561: 137 (2018). ‘Structures of filaments from Pick's disease reveal a novel tau protein fold.’ 6 Fitzp atrick et al. Nature 547: 1 (201 7). ‘Cryo-EM structures of tau Alzheimer ’s disease (ext. data filaments from ).’ 5 W Zhang et al. eLife 8:e43584 (2018). ‘Heparin-induced tau polymorphic and differ from filaments are those in Alzheimer ’s and Pick’ 6 s diseases.’ W Zhang et al. eLife 8:e4 3584 (2018). ‘Heparin-indu ced tau filaments are polymorphic and differ from those in Alzheimer ’s and Pick’ s diseases (ext. data).’ 2
Figure 3: (A) Heparin induced filaments.5 (B) Model of the highly polym orphic Snake, Jagged and Twister filaments.6
Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA ) was thought to be a subtype of Alzheimer ’s, but its filament structure was unknown. In this study cryoEM images of filament purified brain tissue from PCA presenting patients were colle cted and analysed (see table 1). Magnification x 105,000 Box Size (Å) 280 Defocus (µm) -1 to -3 Extracted segments 781, 876 Microscope, camera Krios, K2 Segments in model 80, 541 Electron dose (e-/Å-2) 60 Resolution (Å) 3.45 Pixel size (Å) 1.15 Helical rise (Å) 2.36 Frame Exposure (s) 0.2 Helical twist (⁰) 179.4 Table 1: PCA data collection (left column) and model reco nstruction (right column) statistics. Paired-Helical Filaments (PHF ) and Straight Filaments (SF) were found with occupance of about 85% and 15% respectively, matching the ratio found in studies of classical Alzheimer ’s. The structure of the PHF was solved to 3.4 Å, but the small dataset for the SFs limited their model’s resol ution to around 6 Å (Figure 2). The structures and data collected here support the view that PCA is a subtype of Alzheimer ’s disea se. A B
Due to the lack of available brain tissue, filaments made in vitro are often studied as models of a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases. However, in vitro filament formation has recently been shown to gene rate highly non-braintypical Tau filaments (Figure 3). Thus in vitro models can no longer be considered as good models for neuropat hies, making their study highl y challenging. There is thus a need to develop meth ods of artificial filament form ation that forms natural-type filaments.
Figure 1: A comparison of the Tau filament structures of (A)(B ) Alzheimer ’s (blue: PHF; green: SF) 1, (C) CTE2, (D) Pick’s disease3.
One of the key characteristics of most neurodegenerative diseases is the build-up of abnormal prote in filaments in the brain. In a diverse range of neuropathies, from Alzheimer ’s to CTE to Pick’s disease, these filaments are formed of Tau protein aggr egations. Different disease types have different filament structures (Figure 1), suggesting reasons for their slightly different clinical presentations, but also that they form in different ways . A C
Acid While the filaments for hepa rin induced aggregate struc tures have been shown to not resemble natu ral disease filaments there are a wide range of other methods of inducing filament formation. The CTE filament structure shows an as yet unidentified density with in the centre of its C-shaped curl (Figure 4), suggesting a mechanism of filam ent formation via association and action of this small chemical. While arachidon ic acid is definitely not the obse rved molecule, it was investigated whether it would behave in a similar way to induce filament formation. Unfortunately the cryo-EM dataset had a low contrast. However, filament shaped 2D class avera ges were observed and 6-8 Å 2D models were obtained with a good fit to the experimental data. Altho ugh these models showed a novel filament fold type, they are unique among artificially generated filaments in their distinctive C-shape (Table 2 and Figure 4). Magnification x 105,000 Box Size (Å) 190 Defocus (µm) -1 to -3 Extracted segments 411, 282 Microscope, camera Krios, K2 Segments in model 45, 691 Electron dose (e-/Å-2) 55 Resolution (Å) 6.2 Pixel size (Å) 0.85 Helical rise (Å) 2.34 Frame Exposure (s) 0.3 Helical twist (⁰) 179.2 Table 2: Arachidonic Acid supp lemented data collection (left column) and initial model reconstruction (right colum n) statistics. C
Figure 4: (A) AA micrograph. (B) AA 2D classes. (C) CTE model, shown to be similar to the AA supplemented. PHF shown for comparison.
Perspective and Future Dire
This study elucidated a number of novel results: • It was shown that PCA is a subtype of classical Alzhe imer ’s, although with a slightly different clinical prese ntation. • The PCA patient studied had filaments representative of both Alzheimer's and CTE, showing that neurodeg enerative diseases can over lap and multiple neuropathies can be present in an individual. • A novel potential approach to generate in vitro filaments has been shown; while it needs additional work to verif y their exact shape, it suggests that this could be a better approach to artificially generate filaments. • The likely positioning of arach idonic acid in the filament supp orts the view that small molecule binding to Tau can induce filament formation. A higher resolution structure is needed to confirm the placement of the acid.
This project was completed thanks to the Laidlaw Scholars Programm e at the University ofUniv Oxfoersit rd. y of Oxford.
Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA Supervisor: Dr Amanda de Souza
Second year undergraduate, BA Biological Sciences, St Peter’s College
I spent this summer growing and screening 223 soybean (Glycine max) plants which have been genetically modified for improved photosynthetic efficiency. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make the sugars necessary for their growth. This means that photosynthesis is, directly or indirectly, the source of all our food. In a time when conventional breeding methods have reached their biological limits, science has the genetic tools necessary to meet the estimated need for a two-fold increase in global food production by 2050. Scientists from the RIPE (Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency) project have identified specific pathways and demonstrated that their modification increases photosynthetic efficiency and, thus, yield of the model plant tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). I tested one of these modifications in a crop plant, soybean. With guidance from my supervisor, Amanda de Souza, I imaged individual plants to collect chlorophyll fluorescence data. This data allowed me to compare GM plants to wild-type controls and identify better-performing individuals. I sampled these plants for DNA sequencing. I also chose 13 best-performing plants for protein extraction to look at the expression profiles of the proteins of interest. This study demonstrated the effectiveness of this modification in a crop plant and identified the plants that should further be tested in greenhouse and field conditions.
This was my second summer at UIUC, so I settled in pretty quickly as I knew my way around and had friends from previous summer. I was also in a group of biology students from Oxford and Cambridge, with whom I lived and spent most of my time. My workdays were very varied, sometimes spending the entire day in the lab, sometimes sampling in the greenhouse and then imaging the samples in the dark room, and other times analysing data in the café downstairs or in a conference room. One of my duties was to check on the plants in the greenhouse every day, water them and make sure they are not being attacked by pests. Outside of work I joined the Illini Dancesport team, and trained and went to social events with them. I visited Chicago multiple times because it is very close to the campus, and even got to attend Lollapalooza, a famous music festival! Overall, my daily life was full of sun, swimming and enjoying warm summer weather outside.
The emphasis on leadership and its role in research is unique to the Programme. I greatly enjoyed the weekend away and the leadership training week. I found it useful to think about personal and team management, different leadership styles, and methods of dealing with problems because we encounter these topics in one way or another every day. It was inspiring to meet leaders of different backgrounds and hear about their experiences. To me their stories demonstrated that leadership skills are necessary in a wide range of situations, regardless of one’s position or job title. I have noticed that I use this knowledge in everyday interactions when I am in a group of people. Conducting an individual research project was also a big opportunity to practice leadership: obstacles are inherent to research (especially in biology) and dealing with them requires the skills we had discussed back in Oxford. And I am sure that the leadership skills I gained during the training programme will be instrumental in my future career, whether I stay in science or not.
It was truly inspiring to work among scientists who are not only leaders in their area of research, but also whose work aims to create positive change in the world in real time (what a nice crossover with the leadership aspect of the Laidlaw Programme!). The role of this kind of research in international development is what inspired me to conduct this study, joining the RIPE project for the second consecutive summer. It is a big honour to know that my work is part of something bigger, an endeavour that spans important topics such as ending hunger and the inequality it breeds, ensuring food security and building resilience in the face of climate change. It is not difficult to tell that my impressions are overwhelmingly positive and will last for a very long time. I can say confidently that this experience was an important step in my future career.
I feel very lucky to be a Laidlaw Scholar. Due to the Programme, I have met wonderful people who are incredibly smart and very good friends. I have had a rewarding experience conducting an independent research study. I have been exposed to an environment where a mindset of leadership is nurtured and developed. These combined make my experience on the Laidlaw Programme a fantastic launchpad into the future as a person and a professional.
SCREENING FOR ACCEL ERATED RELAXATION FR OM PHOTOPROTECTION IN GLYCINE MAX (L.) 1Lucy 1Depa
rtment of Plant Sciences,
Manukyan, 2Amanda P. De
University of Oxford; 2Carl
Souza, 2Stephen P. Long
R. Woese Institute for Geno
mic Biology, University of
Figure 1. Interaction between photoprotection and CO2 fixation during sun-shade transitions. Source: Kromdijk et al. (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science. aai8878
â€˘ The slow rate of recovery from photoprotection has been estimated to result in 7.5-30% 1994; Zhu et al., 2004). loss of CO2 fixation (Long et al., â€˘ The recovery of this lost biomass means higher plant productivity and, thus, impr opportunity into sustainably oved yield. This is an exciting meeting the need for a twowindow of fold increase in food productio population size. n by 2050 in the face of grow ing â€˘ Accelerating the xanthoph yll cycle and increasing PsbS results in more rapid relaxation increase in dry plant matter from NPQ and a corresponding productivity, providing proof 15% of concept for the abovemention ed (Kromdijk et al., 2016).
Figure 2. A) Flowchart showing the steps in the screening process â€“ 155 out of 223 starting plants were chosen for DNA sequence analysis based on their NPQ relaxation rate relative to wild type plants. 13 plants with results closest to the tobacco model were chos en for protein extraction and Western blot analysis; B) Sample image from chlorophyll fluorescence imag erâ€“ data on maximum potential quantum efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm), non-photochemica l quenching (NPQ), and photoche mical yield of PSII (đ?š˝đ?š˝PSII) were obta ined for six technical repeats per plant by subjecting plant material to alternating high and low light conditions; C) Experime ntal setup in the greenhouse.
Western blot analysis
Figure 3. Fv/Fm values for the 223 starting plants â€“ averaged across the six technical repeats for each plant (error bars show the SEM of technical repeats; the dashed line is a linear regression betw een Fv/Fm values and plant ID). The majority of Fv/Fm values lie withi n the theoretical range of 0.7-0 .8, indicating that the photosyn thetic capacity of the transgenic plant s is unaffected. Figure 4. A) NPQ in fluctuating light conditions â€“ the selected transgenic plants consistently perform better than the WT (black), as shown by the lowe r NPQ values at low light conditions (p<0.05 second cycle onwards); B) Normalized NPQ values at final dark relaxation stage â€“ the rate of dark relaxation of NPQ (Ď„ ) was 1 calculated by fitting a double exponential model to the nonnormalized values. Both Ď„ and 1 NPQ are significantly lower in transgenic plants compared to WT (in black; p<0.05); C) A table showing Ď„1 values for the best performing transgenic plants and the corresponding p-value for the comparison with WT
Figure 5. Preliminary immunoblots for A) VDE and B) ZEP â€“ VPZ N. tabacum was used as a positive control
â€˘ Initial screening of transgeni c G. max grown in greenhou se conditions showed that acce xanthophyll cycle and increasing lerating the PsbS results in a more rapid relaxation from NPQ when trans from high to low light condition itioning . â€˘ Maximum quantum effic iency of PSII of the transgeni c plants shows that they have photosynthetic capacity as the the same wild type control. â€˘ Preliminary results from Western blot analysis show that the proteins of interest plant tissue in detectable amo are present in the unts. Further analysis is requ ired to quantify the relative the proteins of interest in the amounts of best performing plants. â€˘ More thorough analyses of the photosynthetic rates in fluctuating light conditions, chlorophyll fluorescence and as well as further dry plant matter measuremen ts are required to be performed future with fully segregated in the plants with more than one biolo gical repeats to confirm the this study and to further narr findings of ow down to the best performin g lines.
Thanks to Steven Burgess, Ama nda Cavanagh and Chris Harv ey for helping with the prote Western blot analysis, Yu Wan in extraction and g for helping with the doub le exponential model, and to helped in the greenhouse and all the fellows who in the lab. INSTITUTIONS
ip otherhood in Post-Dictatorsh M of ns tio sta ife an M : ne do Myths Un e Portuguese Art and Literatur Franklin Nelson Background
3rdat), ruled Portugal from 193 touch with Catholicism (Conco in and iety by soc ced of uen all infl ing , act ime ndly imp • Estado Novo, right-wing reg r for most of that time, profou azar served as Prime Ministe ponsible for the domestic res and ry) Ma in Virg 1974. António de Oliveira Sal (like rs the mo be to e wer n der codes; wome • Establishment of strict gen ’ was the regime’s motto sphere; ‘Deus, Pátria, Família democratic era dictatorship and ushers in a new the n dow gs brin ’ vos Cra o dos volution years; their work is • 25th April 1974 – ‘Revoluçã ibit their work in the post-Re exh and lish pub to t star sts and arti • A wave of women writers ular with the public critically acclaimed and pop
6 • Born in the Algarve in 194 nt time in spe r late , sity ver Uni on Lisb • Studied at s nie Portugal’s African colo tten t novel in 1980 – has since wri firs ed lish • Pub ory hist e ues tug Por ent many more, examining rec her of ter wri n ma wo l sfu ces • Arguably the most suc es priz ational generation – winner of (inter)n
• Born in Lisbon in 1935 Art in London, exhibited • Studied at Slade School of in 1960s alongside the London Group , North and ope Eur , Asia • Has since exhibited across 2010 in DBE ted oin South America; app th/21st Cs 20 of st arti e ues • Most successful Portug
od Manifestations of Motherho
rs motherhood in the Colonial Wa , motherhood in society and ers ght dau the ; and ers rs ght the dau mo – ir n rs on the • Three areas of investigatio to them by their own mothe mothers inflict violence done r and daughter – Snow White the mo ical log bio n • Mothers and daughters – wee bet ling fee bad ed ject o which is pro es (left) stepmother is a key figure ont Plays with her Father ’s Trophi impossible ity (derived from Virgin Mary’s tern ma of ths my r’s aza Sal of ion nat condem tive frameworks; (shades • Motherhood in society – g patriarchal and heteronorma inin erm und and ) ion ort (ab od titled No.5, right) example); recasting womanho significant – Untitled series (Un are – ur th of colo ry’s Ma in Virg be disrupted (stillbirths, dea of) blue – the wn by both Jorge and Rego to sho od the rho t the tha mo – sign a rs rs, Wa al Wa the • Motherhood in the Coloni disturbed by the violence of yny); life cycle is profoundly ry Ma in Virg the infants) and discounted (misog of le Cyc dictatorship’s time is up – Life e at the University of Oxford This project was completed tha
nks to the Laidlaw Undergradu
ate Research and Leadership
University of Cambridge & Centro de Estudos Comparatistas, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal Supervisors: Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa & Dr Doris Wieser Second year undergraduate, BA Modern Languages (French & Portuguese), New College
My project considered representations of maternity in three novels by Lídia Jorge and in the art of Paula Rego, two of the most successful Portuguese autoras of the last fifty years. I sought to shed light on the ways in which they have not only depicted mothers in their work, but also contested and reimagined the experience and institution of motherhood as established and enforced by the dictatorship that ruled Portugal from 1933 until 1974, the Estado Novo. For the first four weeks I was based in Lisbon, where I consulted various archives and worked in various libraries. I spent the last four weeks as a Junior Academic Visitor at St John’s College, Cambridge, and also visited the archives at Tate Britain. In a great stroke of luck, I was able to arrange interviews with Lídia Jorge, Paula Rego and Arlete Silva, Paula Rego’s dealer in Portugal and a long-time friend of the artist. In Lisbon, I was in regular email contact with my co-supervisor and met with her a few times to discuss my progress. I was also in regular email contact with my lead supervisor from the start of the summer and once back in the UK I met with her every two weeks to talk through my extended essay
Whilst easy to get around on the metro system and by bus, Lisbon, being a city built on seven hills, is more difficult to see on foot. I stayed in accommodation that was very central: in one direction from my apartment was Parque Eduardo VII, in the other was downtown Lisbon. My days varied according to what needed to be done next, which often meant reading, visiting an archive, and sending emails (there were a lot to send!). On a typical day, I’d get up and travel to Galleria 111, which had the largest archive, where I’d work from 9am until 1pm. After lunch, I would read in the Faculdade de Letras library until about 4pm before returning home. On days when I went to the Casa das Histrias, I’d go in the late morning and spend the day in the beautiful town of Cascais, before returning to Lisbon in the evening. In my spare time I visited new and familiar tourist attractions, galleries and restaurants, enjoyed a few custard tarts and met up with friends who live there. One of the highlights of my month was a day trip to Coimbra.
approaching tasks and questions with self-knowledge and honesty. I took away from the training above all that there is no one type of leader, and that my individual skillset can be applied to good effect in, and enhanced by, leadership situations. This last point was perhaps best exemplified by the guest speakers, whose stories illustrated that a strongman leadership style can often be the worst way to deal with a situation. Besides setting me on the path to achieving an ILM qualification, I remember laughing a great deal at both the week of training after Hilary term and the away weekend: both were fun, and great opportunities for us to bond as a cohort and learn more about the projects we had planned for the summer. On that note, I would say I found the task of giving a five-minute presentation on my project in lay language to be the most difficult but also the most rewarding; it’s surprising how much you can learn by watching yourself back on video.
I am grateful to the Laidlaw Programme for not only giving me the chance to design and carry out a research project in line with my academic interests and in the best places, with the best people, for it, but also for me introducing me to a rich network of like-minded students who are passionate about their areas of study and with whom I will be sure to stay in touch. Being able to travel to do primary research at institutions that have played key roles in forming and disseminating the work of the artist and author I looked at was crucial to the success of my project; everyone I came into contact with, especially in Portugal, was genuinely interested in what I was researching and very keen to help. Having done my project, I am confident that I have laid solid foundations for work that could become the focus of a PhD, and made useful contacts for the future should I decide to pursue graduate study.
The Laidlaw Programme is a fantastic opportunity for students who are generally intellectually curious, especially those who are considering graduate study or a career in academia and want a taste of what life is like as a researcher. That the Programme offers you so much freedom with respect to what you research, where, and with whom, and how you share that research, makes it an unrivalled LEADERSHIP opportunity for undergraduates. Doing my project has certainly given With its basis in theory and coming at the end of a long Hilary term, me a lot of food for thought for the future; whereas before I was the leadership training had the potential to be dense and uninteresting. somewhat unsure, I am now confident I would enjoy graduate study. The way the content was delivered by Maurice, however, made it It also enabled me to put into practice some of the skills outlined in anything but. Sessions were engaging and informative, consistently the leadership training, which I know will be of use to me when referring to real-world case studies, and emphasis was placed on I start to apply for jobs.
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada Supervisor: Professor Evelyn Forget
Second year undergraduate, BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Somerville College
My project was a statistical analysis of the impact that different patterns of government spending have on mental health outcomes on OECD populations. The results of this are used to argue for a Universal Basic Income being introduced in place of traditional welfare systems.
I found that the personal brand exercises were useful during my placement as it encouraged me to think more about how I was coming across. This is something I would want to continue to work on in the future and is something that I had not considered to the same extent before.
I received great support from the University of Manitoba. My supervisor, Evelyn Forget, could not have been more helpful from start to finish; after our initial contact she offered to help me with accommodation and we have kept in touch discussing the project and potential future ideas since I returned to the UK.
Additionally, the ways in which the training made me think about different frameworks for planning, decision-making and monitoring projects will undoubtedly be useful in the future. Getting a professional qualification is a really nice bonus as it shows that the training was leading towards something in the short-term.
Whilst I was out there, she brought in two other members of staff to assist with the statistical element of the project, with whom I had meetings to discuss this area where I have little experience. However, she understood that I wanted ownership of the theory side and was always there to answer questions and give direction when I asked for it.
My schedule was very relaxed. As a political theorist, I had no need for labs for equipment so I didn’t have rigid start and finish times to my days like others may have. The building where Evelyn was based was a 25-minute walk from my Airbnb apartment in downtown Winnipeg and I was able to able to go in and out of the university as I pleased. Some days I would have meetings and want to have Evelyn available to me so would go to the university at 8am and leave at 6pm, other times I would be waiting on data so would not go in at all; instead, I would do research in a public library or a coffee shop and explore the city. I was placed in the Health Sciences department, which had two Master’s students, a PhD candidate and my supervisor. We socialised a lot and would go out for lunch and drinks. Outside of work I tried to sample some of the Canadian culture available so went to baseball and football games for the first time. I also spent one of my Saturdays at a music festival that happened to be on, which was something I did not expect to do!
The training programme was very enjoyable. The weekend away was a really good way to deliver content in an engaging way as well as enabling the cohort to get to know each other. The range of activities in the leadership week worked well to break up the content with the presentations interspersed with physical activities.
My experience was fantastic and I left with a very positive experience of being a researcher, of working on Universal Basic Income (which was the starting point for my project) and of Canada. In the PPE course I have normally been able to choose what I work on, but only in order to churn out an essay in a few days. Here, I had the luxury of being able to devote a long period of time with considerable support to answering a question. This allowed me to go into a level of detail I have not been able to before and was something I really enjoyed as I felt I was able to truly get to grips with the topic. I would definitely return to Canada as the country is so large and I have explored such a small amount of it! People around me were talking about going to other parts of the country to ski, go to the beach or see polar bears so I would love to go back and experience more of Canada.
I think the Laidlaw Programme is immensely useful. It gives you the experience of running a project over a fairly long time in a different country; regardless of what you then go into, this is a great set of skills to have demonstrated. Further, it gives you the confidence that comes from doing things outside of your comfort zone, be that networking abroad or presenting an idea to senior academics. The Programme has inclined me further towards academia. I had thought that I would go straight into industry after graduating, but I am now thinking much more seriously about Master’s studies (and then who knows!). It showed me that I do enjoy the life of a researcher and am able to work effectively in an unstructured way.
Managing Mental Health: Why we need to redress the balance between healthcare spending and social spending
Dan Park Daniel.email@example.com
Background Mental health is making up an increasingly large proportion of the global burden of disease in dev eloped countries. Whilst medical advances hav e led to a rapid decline in dea ths from physical illnesses such as can cer and heart disease, there has been an increase in deaths due to mental and behavioural diso rders. 28 of the 36 OECD countries hav e seen an increase in mental health deaths between 1995 and 201 5. Deaths per 100,000 population in OECD countries. Bold line shows average death rate.
Population health is influenc ed by biological determinan ts, and social determinants. An individual’s biological dete rminants include their age, sex, genetic s etc whereas social determi nants are factors arising from the environment an individual lives in, such as income, education and childhood experiences. Across the OECD, there are large variations in govern ment expenditure on healthcare and social services. Sweden spends around 4 times the amount it spends on healthcare on social services whereas the US spend almost equal proportions of GDP. Recent studies have suggest that increased social spendin g relative to health spending is associat ed with improvements in a vari ety of population health outcomes, including life expectancy, infant mortality, lung cancer and obe sity. The hypothesis was that this relationship would also hold for mental health and that high er ratios of social to hea lthcare spending would be associated with better mental health outc omes in a population. Methodology Using publicly available data from the OECD.stat databas e, we conducted statistical analysis of the relationship between patterns of government spending (on social services and healthcare) and population mental health out comes, controlling for econom ic and demographic factors to prev ent the biological determinan ts from influencing the results.
Independent variables • Healthcare spending: all curative services, long-term care, ancillary services, medical goods, preventative care and administration. • Social spending: all universa l and means-tested transfers from the government to the populat ion, including old-age pension s, unemployment benefits, sub sidised housing etc. Dependent variable • Crude mortality rate per 100,000 due to “mental and behavioural disorders” as clas sified by the OECD. Results Three models were run to gain a fuller understanding of the relationship between healthc are spending, social spendin g and mental health outcomes. Model 1 Tests the association between healthcare spending and men tal health outcomes without con trolling for social spending. This model finds no statistically significant relationship. Model 2 Tests the association between social spending and mental health outcomes without controlling for healthcare spending. This model finds a statistically significant relationship.
Model 3 Tests the association betw een the ratio of social spe nding/ healthcare spending and mental health outcomes when healthcare expenditure of con trolled for. This model finds a statistically significant relationship. Coefficient (SE) Model 1
Health Expenditure Social/health expenditure ratio
-109.4 (48.8) -4.6 (1.6)
P-Value 0.239 0 0.025 0.004
Conclusion This study finds that higher levels of social spending are more closely associated with lower levels of deaths from mental health problems than higher levels of healthcare spending. Dev eloped countries are experiencing low er returns on investment in direct healthcare provision than in social spending when aim ing to improve mental health. The refore, policies aimed at imp roving population mental health will be more effective if they focu s on increasing social spending rath er than healthcare provision. This project was complet ed thanks to the Laidlaw Scholars Programme at the University of Oxford. Thanks also to Pro fessor Evelyn Forget of the University of Manitoba for supervising.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA Supervisor: Professor Elizabeth M. Nolan
Second year undergraduate, MBiochem Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Lady Margaret Hall
My project was about overcoming multidrug antibiotic resistance. Socalled 'superbugs' which cause infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatment are on the rise, and this necessitates the development of strategies to efficiently target antibiotic delivery. I studied a specific new antibiotic called Cefiderocol which acts as a Trojan horse and 'tricks' bacteria into taking it up, as there is a chemical group combined with the antibiotic, and this additional group is recognized by specific outer membrane receptors of the bacteria to encourage bacteria to take it up. The project involved assessing the purity and composition of the compound, then testing its efficacy on several different bacterial strains and finally attempts to optimise its entry by combination assays with various transition metal ions. I received support from the Principal Investigator of my lab, Liz Nolan, who is a Professor of Chemistry at MIT, and also from a post-doc in the lab who was overseeing my day-to-day work. Each week, I presented my progress at a Lab Group meeting to get input and advice from other lab members, and this was a great opportunity to learn more about the field in general.
I absolutely loved living in Boston, in the Back Bay area. I biked to work over the beautiful Charles River every morning, and as a visiting student I had access to all of MIT's sports centres so I'd often go to the gym or for a run in the mornings before work. My schedule was roughly 8-6 in the lab, but there was a lot of freedom with this and I could plan my experiments around anything I wanted to do - this gave me lots of freedom to go travelling over the weekends which was an amazing opportunity! I was able to go to New York, DC, Vermont, Cape Cod, and Montreal. I met lots of people at the shared accommodation where I lived and in the evenings we'd go to concerts in the park, or an outdoor movie night at the Museum of Fine Art. I went to baseball games, went whale watching, and learnt to sail on the weekends I was in Boston. I also met up with a couple of fellow Laidlaw Scholars who were around Boston for lunch during the week, and we even went rock climbing all together one evening after work!
In the middle of Hilary term, we all went on a weekend away to kick off our leadership sessions which really gave me an insight into how the training was organised - there was a lot of group work, and it was very interactive which was great. We were encouraged to apply the knowledge and learning to our own experiences which has proved incredibly useful for internship interview questions!
We also had a full week of training during the Easter vac which was a great opportunity to bond with everyone, and in addition to leadership knowledge I learnt a lot about myself and my personal strengths and points I'm working to improve. Writing the essays really reinforced that knowledge gained, and because I completed them during my project when I had experiments running, it meant I was often directly applying the knowledge to my project. I'm absolutely sure that the skills will come in useful â€“ I already find myself applying them in almost everything!
Thanks to Laidlaw, I had the best summer of my life! I loved exploring Boston and being able to travel around the US, and MIT was such an inspiring place to work. Although the teaching and supervision was different to what I had experienced at Oxford, I was able to really engage with the professors and students there and was immediately given opportunities to present my work to them and to other members of the department, which was invaluable. My work over the summer led to an offer to come back to MIT in future which I am certainly considering! Going into the summer, I wasn't sure whether I wanted a career in research or academia and wasn't particularly excited about my time in the lab, but once I got started I found that I absolutely loved it. The experience has completely changed my career ambitions, and now I'm aiming to do a PhD and continue my career in research.
The Laidlaw Programme has been absolutely life-changing. It has been a truly invaluable learning experience, and I know it will both greatly enrich and be an incredible highlight of my time at Oxford. The financial support offered meant I was able to focus fully on the project, make the most of my time in Boston and develop very valuable connections with colleagues. It has made me reconsider my future directions, and the leadership aspect has been incredibly enriching. The training week in particular, and the completion of the leadership essays during the process of achieving an ILM Level 3 Leadership award, gave me a great insight into a wide range of leadership styles, and the feedback I received through completing the assignments helped me learn an incredible amount about myself, my strengths and what skills I can improve. I really can't put into words how wonderful the experience has been; if you're even vaguely thinking about exploring research or academia, and want to learn how to propel your leadership potential at the same time, this is the way to do it!
Assessing efficacy and mode of action of cefiderocol, a nov el antibiotic conjugate, on mu resistant Pseudomonas aerugi lti-drug nosa in the absence and pre sence of bound metal ions Alessandra V. Peters1, Aaron Bozzi2, Elizabeth M. Nolan2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK Department of Chemistry, Mass achusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.
2 equiv 3 equiv
cefideroco3 l only equiv
300 Wavelen gth350 (nm)
0.5 1 equiv
5 equiv cefideroc 0.0 ol only 250 300 1 equiv
Wavelen350 300 gth
KD = 5.45 Âą 0.68ÎźM n = 1.28 Âą 0.17
4 equiv 5 equiv
KD = 0.42 Âą 0.08ÎźM n = 1.92 Âą 0.17
KD = 1.75 Âą 0.34ÎźM n = 3.39 Âą 0.74
KD = 42.76 Âą 2.8ÎźM n = 2.69 Âą 0.32 50
3 equiv 4 equiv 5 equiv
KD = 1.06 Âą 0.23ÎźM n = 2.34 Âą 0.22
0 Thus :2
Let đ?‘€đ?‘€ = metal and đ?‘ƒđ?‘ƒ = cefide rocol đ?‘ƒđ?‘ƒ + đ?‘›đ?‘›đ?‘›đ?‘› â‡‹ đ?‘ƒđ?‘ƒđ?‘ƒđ?‘ƒ đ?‘›đ?‘›
* [,]. [*,. ]
[*,. ] * 2[*,. ]
The change in absorbance as a fraction of the maximal change observed reflect s the proportion of cefiderocol that is ligand-bound.
cefiderocol only 1 equiv 2 equiv
(đ??žđ??ž( +[đ?‘€đ?‘€]6) Antimicrobial activity assays were carried out with a range of metal concentrations, cefid and metal-cefiderocol complexes erocol concentrations, , in order to determine whet her pre-formation of a metal activity of the compound. In complex affects the contrast to the predicted incre ase in MIC upon knockout of aeruginosa, suggesting that iron transporters in P. iron transporters contribute to the permeation of cefideroco membranes2, my results displa l across bacterial outer y the opposite pattern, and elucid ate that this antibioticâ€™s mean different than current theory s of entry is entirely K407suggests. 1.0 0.6 0.8
P. aerugPAO1 inosa wt
5equiv Fe(III) only cefidero cefiderocol colonly + 5equiv Fe(III) Fe(III) 5equiv only cefiderocol col+only cefidero 5equiv Fe(III)
0.2 0.0 0.0 1 01 1 01 01 0 0 1 00 01 .00 1 .00 1 0.0 1 00 00 .0 0 00 0 .00 0 0. 000 0 .000 0 0. 0 0. 0 0.
P. aeruginosa K407 pfeA5equiv Fe(III) only
5equiv Fe(III) cefidero col +only 5equiv Fe(III)col + 5equiv cefidero Fe(III) cefidero
1 0. 1 0.
cefiderocol (Âľg/mL) cefiderocol (ug/mL)
0.0 0.0 1 01 1 01 01 .1 10 00 .0 010 .10 000 10 .001 001 .000 00 0. .000 00 0. 0 00 0. 0 0. . 0.
10 10 0
(Âľg/mL) cefiderocol (Âľg/mL )
The fluorescence of the bacte ria at t=20h can give qualitative indications of the types of endo being produced, which can be genous siderophores informative about stress respo nses and nutrient sources used.4 P. aeruginosa wt
(nm) Wavelength (nm) 2 equiv The change in absorbance at Wavelength (nm) 259 nm was plotted0.5versus the 3 equiv metal ion concentrat was determined from the inflec 0.5 ion. 4 equivStoichiometry of bindi tion points of the graphs, and ng the KD of binding was estim shown, with fitting based on 5 equivated using the equation the following model3, where n is the Hill coefficient, which 0.0 measure of the degree of coop provi des a quan erativity between binding250sites 300 titative 0.0 350 . The calcu deduced stoichiometries inform 250 lated 400 thermodyn Wavelength amic300param350 (nm) 400 ed my choices of concentrations eters and the gth (nm) of metal ions to use for theWavelen assays. antimicrobial activity
The first step was to assess the purity and composition of the compound cefiderocol, using analytical HPLC (fig. 3) and Liquid Chrom atography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS).
4 0.5 equiv
Absorbanc e Absorb ance
2 equiv 3 equiv
5 equiv 250
Objectives and Methods
The aim of the project was to understand how the antibiotic enters bacterial cells. It is currently in phase II and III clinical trials for complex antibiotic-resistant bloodstrea m infections, hospital-acquir ed pneumonia and sepsis, however little is know n about the method of entry , other than the proposed â€˜Trojan-horseâ€™ style method based on its structure. My guiding research questions were: Ă To what extent is cefideroco l effective against wild-type P. aeruginosa, and several mutants lacking key membrane transporters? Ă Is cefiderocol complexed with a transition metal ion more effective at gaining entry into the bacterial cell, and does pre-formation of the metalcefiderocol complex affect activi ty?
1 1.0 equiv
2 equiv 4 equiv
0.5 cefider ocol only
cefiderocol only 1 equiv
This discovery has inspired synth etic conjugation of antibiotics to siderophores in order to â€˜trick â€™ siderophore uptake machinery for antibiotic delivery. Cefiderocol (fig. 1) is one such conjugate, composed of the antibiotic cephalosporin chemically boun d to a small organic compound called a catechol group, which is know n to be recognized by specific outer membrane receptors called TonB-dependen t receptors (such as fepA) used endogenously by P. aeruginosa for iron trans port1 (fig. 2).
Results and Discussion
UV-Vis metal-binding titrations (25ÎźM cefiderocol titrated with 2.5ÎźL additions of 20mM meta pH7.0 in 2mL quartz cuvettes l ion solutions at (Starna), 75mM HEPES, 100m M NaCl buffer at 25oC). Optic collected from đ?ž´đ?ž´ = 200-800nm al absorption spectra were on a Beckman Coulter DU 800 Co(II) spectrophotometer thermostatZn(II) Peltier temperature controller. ted at 25 Â°C with a
The alarming rise of multidrug antibiotic resistance in Pseud omonas aeruginosa, which causes infec tions ranging from urinary tract infections to septicaemia, burn wound colon ization and chronic colonizatio n of the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, nece ssitates the development of strategies to efficiently target antibiotic delive ry. One possibility is to exploit existi ng membrane transporters that are required for the uptake of meta l ions which bacteria acquire from the host environment. Upon infection, the host-defence strategy of â€˜nutritional immunityâ€™ refers to the seque stration of essential metal nutri ents within the host to restrict the growth of pathogenic bacteria. There is a tug-of-war for metal ions between host and pathogen, compounded by the presence of siderophores, which are low-m olecular-weight chelators synth esized by bacteria for metal ion acquisition ; some bacteria even produce siderophores tethered to antibiotics to harm competitors which express the siderophore receptors on their surfaces.
+Co(II) +Zn(II) +Ni(II) For instance, in all cases, more +Fe(III) pyocyanin, an endogenous sider ophore, is produced at highe concentration; this likely indica r metal ion tes better growth. With Zn(II) addition, the metal-only contr aquamarine tint, indicating a ol has a more higher ratio of pyoverdine (gree n) to pyocyanin (blue) compared only antibiotic was added. Cefid to the wells in which erocol may inhibit pyoverdine production, or may interfere pathway, whilst metal addition with its production has been shown to stimulate pyoverdine and pyochelin pathw aeruginosa.4 Moreover, whils ay genes in P. t cefiderocol usually inhibits growth up to 10-6M, as Ni(II) growth up to 10-5 M, thus incre is added, cefiderocol inhibits ased nickel availability impro ves drug efficacy.
Following that, determination of whether there was binding to the transition metal ions Co(II), Ni(II) Conclusions , Mn(II), Fe(III) and Zn(II), and if so, with what thermodynamic parameters such binding occurs, was asses Â§ The mechanism by which sed using UV-Vis spectroscopy. cefiderocol acts does not in fact appear to be a Trojan horse Â§ The siderophore moiety does mechanism In order to assess the efficacy not appear to contribute to mod of the antibiotic, antimicrobial e of entry Â§ The addition of metal ions impr activity assays were performed in 96-w oves bacterial growth and vastly outco ell plates with several strains each obse mpetes any potential effect of rved due to complexation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and metal ions with cefiderocol Escherichia coli, including muta nts deficient in These observations warrant the synthesis of outer membrane further studies, such as an in ferric siderophore receptors. vitro comp Culture ariso turbidity readouts were used pure n ceph of pure Î˛-lactamase activity alosp orin activity in comparison to to assess the antibacterial activi and cefiderocol. ty of cefiderocol. Metal-cefiderocol References: complexes in varying ratios were also tested to 1. Aoki et al, European Journa assess the means by which the l of Medic compound enters bacterial cells. inal Chemistry (2018) 155:84 7-868. 2. Zhanel et al, Drugs (2018). European Society of Clinica (2019) l Microbiology and Infectious 79:271-289. 3. Shalk, I.J. Diseases, 24(8):801-802. 4. Choi, Opinion on Investigational Drugs J.J., McCarthy M.W. (2018) Expert , 27(2), pp.193-197.
This project was completed thank s to funding from the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research & Leade and the Lady Margaret Hall Nuffi rship Programme at the Unive eld Research Fund and Heron-Alle rsity of Oxford, n Travel Grant. Equipment usage of Chemistry Instrumentation Facility (DCIF) and the Nolan was kindly provided by the MIT Lab. Department
ing the Universal Credit and Foodbank Use: understand k associations and the environment of the foodban Key Recommendations
Background Food poverty is defined by the Department of Health as “the inability to afford, or have access to, food to make up a healthy diet.” It is an increasing problem in the UK, most prominently represented by the rising use of foodbanks, charitable organisations which usually provide a three-day supply of non-perishable food to people who have been referred and who would otherwise not have access to food. Universal Credit is a new UK benefit which is being rolled out across the UK. It consists of a single monthly payment per household, uses a digital system, and has more conditionality than previous benefits, meaning that sanctions (the removal of all or part of a person’s benefits in response to them failing to fulfil requirements) are more common. It has come under criticism for increasing food poverty from many charities, including The Trussell Trust, who found that there is a 52% increase in foodbank use after six months in areas where Universal Credit has been implemented. Political debate around Universal Credit, food poverty and the charitable response to hunger is live and contentious, while academics are also investigating the associations between Universal Credit and food poverty, sanctions and food poverty, and the environment of the foodbank. This research sought to understand the aspects of Universal Credit that are affecting foodbank use and the experience of those coming to foodbanks.
To government and politicians: • Remove the delay before first payment • Replace the emergency payment loan with an emergency grant • Give claimants choice around the frequency of payments and direct payment of housing benefit • Increase the amount which claimants receive • Introduce a free phone service of the government’s plan.” and provide JobCentre support doing and it’s really, really for those struggling with online “I think the government know exactly what they’re applications dangerous.” Michelle, volunteer • Clients with disabilities and caring foodbank use? responsibilities should be allowed What aspects of Universal Credit are increasing ts has a built-in delay of five weeks before claiman to report over the phone • Delay before first payment – Universal Credit to g “nothin with left are they so savings have • Modify the real-time online receive their first payment. Many claimants don’t system live on”. get into debt during the wait, and this then means • Give people time to appeal before • Loan repayment and debt – many claimants ntly “consta them leaving Credit, al Univers receive do applying sanctions they have less to survive on when they • Investigate the efficacy of catching up”. . This creates monthly paid is Credit al Univers , benefits s sanctions and cease their use if • Monthly payment – unlike previou tly payment. they are found to be ineffective budgeting problems for those used to a fortnigh for s problem t, rather than the landlord, causes • Calculate the welfare costs being • Direct payment of housing benefit to the claiman the into “dip to Credit as they are tempted footed by charities and take this some who are struggling to survive on Universal into policy considerations. housing benefit” for necessities like food. on; live to te adequa is paid are the amount they • Carry out wide-scale research into • Not enough money – only 8% of claimants think gas rent, after on survive to month £13 left a gender and food insecurity. one disabled man I met in the foodbank had just • Urgently address the disparities in and electric. had who er volunte a even that ated complic treatment of disabled people, and • Bureaucracy and complexity – the system is so and it. introduce reasonable worked in housing for a decade struggled to underst can also and literacy er comput of levels low with those adjustments for clients with • The online system creates difficulties for month. one in wages two receive they if disabilities. prevent people from receiving benefit felt they were ers volunte Some Credit. al Univers under n • Assessments for disability • Benefit sanctions are more commo hearing about sanctions were they that and system the with issue benefits should be carried out by drowned out by all the other sanctions were effective. qualified doctors. less than previously; no volunteers I spoke to thought people to support criticised for failing to offer • Re-skilling should be provided for • Local JobCentres in all of the cities I visited were older workers. and having overly rigid working systems. • Investment should be made into the to coming rd’s empty before they’re counselling services. “They’re having to be desperate and their cupboa • Government funding should foodbank.” Barbara, volunteer provide all children with access to food during the holidays. What other factors are driving foodbank use? d increase their of than they used to be. Some • Publicly announce that the right • Food banks are more available and better known need, not a new need. to food is a human right to reduce use is due to them meeting a previously unmet vulnerable to hunger. people feelings of being undeserving. leaving is support and s network social • A lack of ng issues. Tackle environmental and health budgeti • have clients some that said ers volunte • Some k use, particularly among single women with or issues in our food system Methodology • Low income was a large factor driving foodban d by volunteers as a cause of foodbank use. alongside food insecurity through This research used a mixedwithout children. In-work poverty was identifie a universal food voucher system. methods approach. I attended Recommendations to foodbanks: Who is Universal Credit driving to foodbanks? fourteen different foodbank ks and volunteers stressed there was “no typical • More thinking is needed about • While a wide variety of people used foodban sessions in Bath, East Bristol and which were disproportionately represented in the most empowering structures person, no typical cause”, there were some groups Oxford where I helped other within which to serve clients. foodbanks. volunteers welcome those be to likely ely men were also disproportionat • A sustainable volunteer pool will • Many older single men came to foodbanks. Single coming to the foodbank and require foodbanks to reach out coming due to the Universal Credit delay. prepare their food. During these to to need a foodbank, and disproportionately likely beyond their base of religiously • Disabled people are disproportionately likely sessions, I had many with People system. benefits within the funding ate motivated older volunteers. inadequ receive k and foodban delays nce with experie conversations taken seriously or were penalised for related not often were ies and difficult workers learning support specific clients, . Mental health problems were exacerbated by Further research difficulties during the benefits application process volunteers which, with their • Gender and food insecurity – my Universal Credit. consent, formed part of my families came more and ks, foodban the to coming were research suggests many women • Increasing numbers of employed people research. I carried out twelve incould be suffering from “hidden during the holidays due to holiday hunger. depth semi-structured interviews hunger”. with foodbank volunteers and of these people, which means that • Manual labour and disability – managers I met while “You have to make yourself look terrible in the eyes many clients I met were too It’s like a torture, it affects your mental volunteering and then analysed you feel terrible. You know that it’s for nothing. disabled for the jobs they had client this interview data to draw out Ella, work?” for ted motiva be to health… and then they expect you previously worked in and were repeated themes. I also analysed trained for, but “not disabled the data of 1053 people coming k? foodban a to go to like it What is to enough” for disability benefits. to the Oxford foodbank between offering hot drinks and listening if people wanted ing, welcom be to tried usually ers volunte While what Research is needed to knowing not y ers Februar volunte and many 2018 y with ship, Februar talk, there was an uncertain client/volunteer relation understand how to best help this and felt the need to explain 2019 according to household to describe clients. Many clients were “ashamed” use to word group. often were Clients gers.” “scroun weren’t type and reported reason for they themselves, justifying their presence and that • Creative solutions should be raise allergies and intolerances, coming, and I carried out a wideexpress dietary preferences and some did not even to t reluctan found combining environmental foodbank support available varied greatly from ranging literature review drawing suggesting they did not feel entitled to choice. The and social issues within the food communities more some and not, others and on work by academics, charities food fresh g location to location, with some providin system. and government bodies. supportive than others. Department of Social I would like to thank Professor Mary Daly at Oxford’s Scholars Programme at the University of Oxford. This project was completed thanks to the Laidlaw Policy and Intervention for her supervision.
How is Universal Credit affecting foodbanks? are coming for longer. In the foodbanks I • More people are coming to foodbanks, and people e to prevent dependency had either been visited, the “three times in six months” guidelin common. Foodbanks are becoming abandoned or exceptions were becoming more as a safety net. institutionalised; local councils are relying on them increased demand on services by those • A strain across the third sector is being felt from experiencing Universal Credit problems. increased reliance on charities was deliberate: • Many volunteers and clients suggested that the cynically”, “setting people up to fail” and “all part that the Universal Credit system was “designed
Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford Supervisor: Professor Mary Daly
Second year undergraduate, BA English Language and Literature, Somerville College
I investigated the association between Universal Credit (the new UK benefit) and food poverty, the inability to afford adequate nutritious food. I carried out fieldwork in foodbanks in Bath, East Bristol and Oxford and conducted interviews with foodbank volunteers to gain an understanding of the different aspects of Universal Credit affecting clients coming to the foodbank, as well as what the environment of the foodbank is like for clients. I also analysed available statistics on the reasons people had for coming to the foodbank and how different household types were represented at the foodbank. I combined all of this information to write a report. The support of my supervisor, Professor Mary Daly in Oxford’s Department of Social Policy, was really helpful throughout the project; she helped me to plan my research methodology and analytic strategy and provided feedback on drafts of my report. I also received support while planning my research from Fran Bennett, Dr Aaron Reeves and Dr Elisabeth Garratt.
I spent most of my time during the project in Oxford, doing fieldwork at the Oxford foodbank, analysing my data and writing my report. I live in college during term-time, but I was fortunate to be able to stay in the student house of some of my friends for most of the summer until their contract expired! It was really nice to spend time living with my friends and to have the student house experience. I worked during the day in the Department of Social Policy, my college library or my favourite café/workspace, Common Ground. I enjoyed being around Oxford outside term-time, working in my deserted college library, visiting museums and taking strolls on Port Meadow. I am from Bath originally and during my fieldwork in Bath and Bristol I stayed with my mum. Fieldwork would involve me volunteering at a foodbank for what was usually a two-hour session, talking to clients and volunteers, making observations, and then meeting up with volunteers to interview them after sessions.
I really enjoyed the leadership training. It was very interactive and gave us lots of opportunities to reflect upon leadership and upon our personal leadership styles. I also got to know the other Scholars
well during the weekend away and made some good friends. I found giving the presentations and then watching the presentation footage back with Maurice particularly helpful, and I’ve used what I learned about presenting in internships since the training. I hope to use these presentation skills while disseminating my research, and they will be really useful throughout my career. We also got the opportunity to hear from a number of leaders who had achieved great things throughout their careers during the leadership training, and this was very inspiring.
I really enjoyed being a researcher. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to design my own research project, carry out the research and then produce a report. I enjoyed being self-directed, setting my own timetable, and having a longer period of time to work on a more substantial project than during my degree. I also really enjoyed learning lots of new methods in qualitative and quantitative social science research through the research training provided by the Laidlaw Programme and my supervisor’s suggested reading, and this confirmed and strengthened my interest in social science research. The fieldwork was at times emotionally draining as I was often listening to people describe the challenging situations they were in. No-one ever wants to come to a foodbank, and I met many people who were struggling. However, the opportunity to listen to people and amplify their voices is one for which I am very grateful. The experience confirmed my interest in research and social policy and strengthened my passion for fighting poverty.
The Laidlaw Programme has been an incredibly valuable experience. The research skills I developed will be very useful as I enter the final year of my degree and work on my coursework and dissertation, as well as beyond my degree in future study and research roles. It has enabled me to gain experience and knowledge of social science research, and specific expertise in welfare and food poverty. I have discovered through the Programme that I would greatly enjoy and be suited to an academic or research career. The Programme has given me new skills and a greater confidence in my abilities as a leader and a researcher.
New York University, USA Supervisor: Professor Wei Ji Ma
Final year undergraduate, MMath Mathematics, Keble College
My project was a study looking to interpret the learning of an artificial intelligence agent (trained using reinforcement learning, a form of trial-and-error) as it learned a game called 4-in-a-row. My host lab, the Wei Ji Ma lab, had performed a study on humans learning the game in 2017, and quantified their learning through a series of experiments. They had also collected a much bigger dataset from an app called Peak which hosts the game online, and the lab supported me by sharing their data and results.
in my placement was the work on presenting. The filmed practice presentation on my project to the rest of the Scholars, which Maurice and I then analysed later in a one-on-one, was a helpful insight that informed the presentations I made to the lab over the summer. I think the utility of all of the training will only increase as I move through my career and into leadership roles.
Having wanted to go into research for a while now, my placement was a helpful affirmation that I was going to enjoy the career I had Because I come from a more mathematical background than some been aiming for. Being a researcher rather than a student still has the of the grads in the lab, I also had the chance to help out in other feel of academic collaboration and constant learning, but comes with projects such as modelling human tree searches in the Canadian travelling salesman problem and modelling human cooperation using more freedom to pursue the questions and problems that interest you. I travelled to New York, which was a great opportunity to experience a road building game. living and working in such an awesome city. While I don’t think I’d return to live there long-term, it was a chance DAILY LIFE to be immersed in a different, exciting culture. In New York I stayed in a student flat in the Financial District, in the south of Manhattan. I walked to the Washington Square Park IMPACT campus area each morning, went to the gym, and then headed into the lab in NYU’s Centre for Neural Science. In the lab I was mainly For me the biggest benefit from the Laidlaw Programme has been the relationships I’ve built. The lab was very welcoming, and I’ve built programming and analysing data, but also participated in research meetings and reading groups, as well as presenting on various topics. friendships and relationships with all its members that will last into my life and career. Because of how my project complemented their I was also lucky that the lab was very social! Over the weeks we squeezed in events like group dinners, game nights, karaoke nights in work, I’ll likely continue an ongoing partnership with the lab Chinatown and escape rooms! After work or at weekends I explored to further the questions I considered this summer. the city and saw some of my family that live over there. I also got the chance to attend the CogSci conference in Montreal and meet and listen to a wider pool of academics from all over LEADERSHIP the world. Beyond this, the practical skills I got to practice in my summer project are already proving useful in new projects I’m now The leadership training earlier this year was valuable and great working on, having put theoretical ideas from my degree to use in fun. The lectures and exercises from Maurice and the team were real-world tasks. enjoyable and I felt I learned a lot. The area of training I used most
The student becomes the ma ster: what can recent advanc es in artificial intelligence teach us about our own learning? Jak e Topping
When learning by trial-and-er ror, the way our AI views its en vironment evolves over the course of its training but in a different way to hum ans. Experiments suggest that repla cing some of an AI’s memories with real human experiences can make this ev olution more similar to that of humans, without unacceptable costs in final pe rformance and training time. This may mean we can use an AI trained in this way to assis t or accelerate human learning on a given ta sk by isolating the most usef ul situations to learn. “Learning ”
In decision making – artificial or human – we can consider notions of policy and value. • Policy is how good you consi der each choice you have in this state to be. For instance at a given point while driving, you might consider the merit of braking, accelerating or turnin g the wheel. • Value is how good you consi der a position or environment itself to be. For example while driving, being on the right side of the road should be more highly valued than on the wron g side! How you value choices and posit ions evolves as you learn a task.
The task: 4-in-a-row In 2017, van Ophesuden et al at the Wei Ji Ma lab, NYU, cond ucted a study on humans learning a game called 4-in-a-row to infer how peop le plan ahead in sequential decision making (exam ple positions can be seen below ). Participants came in over a few weeks wher e they learned the game by playin g each other, and were also trialled in the follow ing experiments:
Methods The first stage of the project involved implementing a neura l-network based reinforcement learning agent (AI) capable of learning 4-in-a -row, and tuning it to reliably train to at least huma n standard. We achieved this, and further refinements are still being made .
We then repeated the experimen ts from the ’17 study on each successful AI agent. Then the agent ’s beha viour was modelled using the same computational model (a linear model of value shown below) as for humans, such that the parameters could be compared. This allowed us to quantitativ ely measure how the AI’s notion of value chang es over learning, which can be compared to same results from the human data.
Later in the project we repea ted this process with an adjus ted AI that at each stage of learning had some of its mem ories replaced with real huma n data, with the hypothesis that its parameters over learning could be interp reted as closer to those from human play.
which of the highlighted moves should white make next ?
Results and Conclusions
The experiments described, both with the original AI and ‘human-handicapped’ AI, were performed several times . With the original AI, we found that the parameters at each stage had high variance between agent s, and could not be said to resemble the human-fitt ed parameters. With the huma n-handicapped AI the parameters had a lower varian ce around a mean that was visibl y closer to the human-fitted parameters .
on a scale of 1 to 7, how good is this position for white given it is their move?
This suggests that while a neura l network’s interpretation of a task is not the same as a human’s when left to learn on its own, cooperatin g with it and providing it some human exper iences as its own can push this interpretation to one we can compare to huma ns.
Reinforcement learning The ‘artificial intelligences’ we considered were agents traine d to play 4-in-a-row using reinforcement learning. This meant they: • Started with no knowledge of the game apart from the rules • Only learned through playin g the game against itself • Played a batch of games, then looked back at a selection of its ‘memories’ from these games to update its policy and value The human equivalent of this is trial and error, and this resem blance to a style of human behaviour is part of the reason for our hypothesis that the way such an agent learns may resemble that of a human. Neural network
Applications in Assisted Learni
While interpretation of mode l parameters and learning is a big problem in the field of artificial intelligence, the mission statement of this project was to consider how studying an AI can benefit a human learning a task. As part of a more ongoing collab oration with the Wei Ji Ma lab, we will be running further experiments on the human-handicapped AI to use the mathematical features of the model to find positions of the task where the AI’s choices differ most between skill levels. If we can find such positions, that suggests that between these points of learning the AI has learned something. Once these have been isolated, they can be given to a human learning the task to accelerate moving up throu gh skill levels. While this task is just a moderatelychallenging game, it acts as a proof of concept for the many other domains that reinforcement learning has recen tly had success in. I would like to thank the Wei Ji Ma lab at New York University for hosting me and collaboratin project, Prof. Wei Ji Ma for his g with me for this supervision and friendship over the summer, and the Laidlaw Programme at the University Scholars of Oxford for their support in making this project possible.
PHOEBE WHITEHEAD King's College London
Supervisor: Professor Robert Hindges
Second year undergraduate, BA Human Sciences, St. Catherine’s College
My project examined how the environment influences the development of the visual system in zebrafish larvae. Zebrafish embryos were kept in different environments during their first five days of development, as this encompasses the critical period when specific orientation-selective circuits develop in the eye. The environments differed in visual stimuli for the zebrafish; they were surrounded in the tank by either horizontal or vertical stripes. I used a transgenic zebrafish line where the retinal output neurons expressed a calcium indicator (GCaMP). This meant the tectum visibly fluoresced when using in vivo functional imaging. When the zebrafish larvae were 5 days old, they were immobilised in a thick agarose gel, with one eye free and facing a projection screen. A series of images showing different directions and orientations of black bars were flashed into the eye, and responses in the tectum were detected and recorded on the confocal microscope. I then extracted the detection and axial preference of orientation-selective responses and analysed the data. This project was a direct continuation of my supervisor’s previous work, meaning I had considerable support in resources and any questions I had.
The department I was based at is located in London, which allowed me to live at home and commute into the lab. My week was split into two parts: from Monday to Wednesday I ran my experiment, while Thursday and Friday were dedicated to data analysis. On the days of running my experiment, I would come in at 11am and leave around 8pm. Each day, the first few hours were spent preparing around 8 fish for the microscope by setting them in agarose. The afternoon and evening were spent on a confocal microscope, running the projections and recording data. Meanwhile, on the days I was analysing data, I stuck to more regular working hours and spent my day battling with MATLAB codes. It was on these days that I also set up fish to mate and sorted their embryos, growing them to five days for experimentation the following week. The lab was also really friendly; it was all girls, and we ended up socialising a lot together. We attended spin and yoga classes, went out for dinner and ice-cream, and also had lunch together every day!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the leadership training, as I hadn’t done anything like it before. However, it was really enjoyable, and it covered all areas of leadership, providing me with a better understanding of different leadership styles and qualities. The assignments were useful in making me think critically about past experiences and encouraged self-evaluation and reflection. This has enabled me to find specific areas for improvement through
analysing myself as a leader, especially in areas of strategy and organisation. It encourages you to think about aspects of leadership which are key for the future. The guest speaker sessions were insightful and provided different perspectives about leadership, as well as their experiences. I am looking forward to finishing off my leadership training and applying what I have learnt to future experiences.
The Laidlaw Scholarship was a fantastic opportunity to work in a new environment. The research project is significantly more independent than university; consequently, I had the opportunity to structure my own timeline and daily routine, and the progress of the project was completely up to me. The department at Kings College was incredibly friendly, with individuals from other groups helping me when I was stuck. I think the great environment made the experience more memorable. I also had the opportunity to be able to visit labs in the US who specialised in similar questions. This was an incredible opportunity to meet and discuss with a myriad of different researchers who all had their own unique methods and specialised knowledge. I feel privileged to have been able to develop my skills with the Laidlaw Scholarship and it has confirmed to me that I would love to do more research in the future.
The Laidlaw Programme provided me with an incredible opportunity to complete my own individual project, providing me with an experience I could otherwise only dream of. The chance to pursue academic interests outside of the university structure has increased my confidence and developed my lab and technical skills. I have had the opportunity to conduct large experiments and coding for the first time (something which I found incredibly daunting before) and it has inspired me to learn even more. I am also now a lot less afraid of approaching others for help and feel much more open to asking questions to experts. It also allowed me to develop my leadership skills, which are incredibly useful for the future. I am already able to implement what I have learnt in situations, with improved communication and management skills. The placement gave me an insight into the life of a researcher, making me more aware of the realities of a career in research, especially when it comes to obstacles and lack of results! I think it has made me more secure in my career choice, and the wealth of experiences and opportunities would definitely help me if I were to pursue a PhD.
Phoebe Whitehead1, Nikolas 1 Unive
rsity of Oxford; 2 Centre for Deve
• Visual information is pre-p rocessed in the retina and split into different features by distinct neural circuits before it is relaye d to the brain (Nikolaou et al, 2012) . • A number of these circuits detect the orientation of visua l stimuli by using orientation-selec tive neurons. • These selective cells have been confirmed in numerous species, including primates, rodents, and fish (Antinucci et al, 2016; Antinu cci & Hindges, 2018).
• The retina detects visual stimuli with a clear preference for orientation.
Nikolaou2 and Robert Hindge 2 s
lopmental Neurobiology, Kings
• Zebrafish larvae were raised in one of three environments for the first five days of development. • The environments: horizontal lines, vertical lines or white walls surrounding each channel (x12 channels per environment, 1 fish per channel). • The horizontal and vertical lines were 2mm in width.
Fish: • Imaged at 5 days post fertil isation (dpf) so the visual syste m is fully developed • A transgenic zebrafish line was used • Mitfa line (pigmentation mutation) so the zebrafish is transparent to facilitate imagi ng • Retinal cells express a genet ically encoded calcium indicator (GCaMP) to measure neuronal activity with fluorescence during in vivo imagi ng
The Set up
Figure 1: Cross-section of a zebrafish displaying how visual information from the retina reaches the brain
Hypothesis: Zebrafish larvae kept in diffe rential visual environments will develop pref erences for specific oriented visual stimuli.
H Figure 2: Horizontal, vertical and white environments in a humid chamb er
• A voxel-wise data analysis strategy was used to identify direction and orientation selec tive responses for each visual stimulus and generate maps for the total preferences.
Figure 3: The setup of the confoc al micros
cope with projector
Conclusions There are only small changes in preference associated with direction.
Number of Voxels
There are strong changes in orie ntation selectivity, with preferential responses matchin g the environment the larvae were raised in. Number of Voxels
Number of Voxels
Number of Voxels
• At 5dpf, the larvae were immo bilised in agarose gel, with the right eye free facing the projection screen with the microscope objective focusing on the corresponding left tectum. • Three experiments on each fish, with random black bars showing a variety of orientation s and directions played on a projector. • Visually-evoked neuronal responses were detected using the confocal microscope.
• The peak orientation corre lating to the environment the fish was raised in is higher and broader and whereas for the orthogonal orientation the peak is diminished, sugge sting a use it or lose it mechanism . • Larvae raised in a white envir onment had no change in prefe rence either direction or orientation for , however had a lower numb er of responsive voxels compared to those raised with visual stimu lation.
1. Variations in experimen tation through a wider variet y of black bar frequencies, orientations and width of stripes. 2. Behavioural studies on zebra fish raised
in contrasting environments. 3. Cellular studies to obser ve any molecular changes in orientationselective cells for zebrafish raised in contrasting environments.
This project was completed thank s to the Laidlaw Scholars Programm e at the University of Oxford.
Figure 5: Diagrams of voxel prevalence to identify preference of direction or orientation in shows population responses the various environments. Data from 15 fish in each group
Antinucci, P. and Hindges, R. (2018) Orientation-selective retinal circuits in vertebrates. Circuits 12:11. doi: 10.3389/fncir. Front. Neural 2018.00011 Antinucci, P., Suleyman, O., Monfri es, C. & Hindges, R. (2016). Neural Selectivity in the Retina. Current Mechanisms Generating Orienta Biology 26: 1802-1815. tion Nikolaou N, Lowe AS, Walker AS, Abbas F, Hunter PR, Thomp son ID, Meyer MP. (2012). Parame functional maps of visual inputs tric to the tectum. Neuron 76: 317-32 4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA Supervisor: Professor Paul O'Gorman Final year undergraduate, MPhys Physics, St Hilda’s College
the ferry down to Cape Cod and spend a day cycling along the beaches, you can go to Faneuil Hall and explore the marketplaces, you can go to the Boston Commons and just sit and soak up the wonderful grounds there's just so much there!
Recently it has emerged that climate models predict a distinct seasonality to increases in extreme precipitation over NH land in response to climate change, with summertime increases being significantly smaller than wintertime increases. However, the reliability of climate model predictions over land is sometimes disputed, due to the complex interactions associated with orography (i.e. mountains) and soil processes. As such, there are two main questions which arise: "To what extent is there a seasonal cycle to extreme precipitation events?" and "What physical drivers are responsible for this cycle?".
During my summer at MIT, I studied the effects of climate change on the seasonal cycle of extreme precipitation events, particularly over land in the Northern Hemisphere (NH).
My project attempted to answer these questions firstly by using an observational dataset of daily extreme precipitation events from 19012010 to look for evidence of a seasonal cycle in extreme precipitation; secondly, I used a collection of 20 state-of-the-art climate models to probe the physical drivers of this seasonal cycle.My supervisor at MIT was Professor Paul O'Gorman, and it was his work in the late 2000s which laid the foundations of all future studies of extreme precipitation and its relationship to global warming. His supervision during the project was invaluable in showing me how research is conducted at this level and has helped me decide that a PhD is in fact something which I would like to pursue.
The leadership training element was useful for me, particularly because of the emphasis on communication and getting your ideas across to people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Sometimes it's a real struggle to understand what level to pitch your talk at, and the workshops, practice presentations and one-on-one feedback sessions really helped me to develop my skills as a public speaker. I found these skills particularly useful when it came to presenting my work to my supervisor at our weekly meetings, and also when I presented my findings at the end of the summer to my research group at MIT.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend the summer in Boston and at MIT. The city itself was a real pleasure to be in and while MIT is in no way the prettiest university I've seen – a fact made even worse by the fact Harvard is only a 20-minute walk up the road – the research atmosphere there is inspiring. What I found especially interesting after speaking to some of the undergraduates at MIT was that they are encouraged to undertake substantial research projects alongside their classes and their other degree requirements, which generally seemed to foster a much greater sense of academic curiosity than I've experienced at Oxford during undergrad – where the emphasis is often placed on tute sheets and lectures rather than on research skills.
I sublet a room from a PhD student at MIT who was away for a few months. The room was great and my housemates were also super nice – most of them were postdocs or PhD students themselves and had also just recently moved to Boston, so we had a lot of fun exploring together. This internship, alongside my previous internship at Caltech last year, has confirmed that my decision to undertake a DPhil this year was the While Boston does have a good public transport system, I was unlucky enough to be situated quite far away from a subway stop, so most days I correct one! And that I would be very happy working at a US university after I finish my DPhil. just walked to MIT in the mornings (~30 mins) and then take the bus back in the evenings. MIT is quite a quiet place over the summer so I had an entire office to myself, which was pretty neat! Every week I met with my supervisor to discuss how the research was going and what questions we wanted to ask next. I found this style of supervision to be very helpful and forced me to organise my ideas thoroughly beforehand. Outside of work, there are loads of activities to keep one occupied in Boston. One activity I particularly enjoyed was the sailing! MIT is situated on the banks of the Charles River, and MIT's sailing club is open every day for members of the university to take boats out onto the water. I spent many evenings there with the other visiting students learning how to rig the boats and take them out for solo runs – I highly recommend it! Aside from MIT's exquisite sports facilities, Boston itself has loads to offer someone who is there for the summer. You can take
I'd say there are two main ways in which this Programme has impacted me: Firstly, this summer was the first time I've ever been given so much independence in driving my own research project and working out problems on my own, and I found that this way of working was actually extremely enjoyable for me. The freedom to follow your own insights and curiosities is really great and this experience has helped me to know what kind of supervisor I work best with. Secondly, the opportunity to work in this field – one of which I had little experience previously – has been invaluable and has allowed me to refine further the types of questions I find interesting and would like to explore in the future.
Global warming causes extr eme precipitation to increase faster in winter than in summer over the Northern Hemisphere. Andrew Williams, Paul O’Gorm
Rx1 sensitivity [%/K]
On the seasonality of north ern hemisphere precipitation ex tre INTRODUCTION
• Future changes in extreme precipitation are considered one of the most impactful consequences of clim ate change, with potential effe cts ranging from increased flood risk to crop failures. • Climate models have predicte d a distinct seasonality to cha nges in extreme precipitation, howeve r it is currently unclear whether this seasonality also exists in the obs ervational record.
(b) Winter (NDJFM)
(c) Summer (MJJAS)
(d) Difference: Winter - Summ er
Figure 2: Latitudinal analysis of land-based precipitation obser vation Panels (a)-(c): The yearly, winte r and summer response of extrem s from 1901-2010. e precipitation to observed warming, with 90% confidence interval at each latitude. Panel (d): Analysis of the difference Winter and Summer response. between
• Specifically, climate models predict that over Northern Hem ispheric land there will be a strong, positive DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3287 increase in winter vs weaker SUP PLE MEN TARY INFORMATION increases in summer. [See Figu re 1.] However the mechanism underlying these changes is still very poorly understood.
• These uncertainties make it difficult for the scientific commun ity to provide clear policy suggestions to governments regarding ada ption strategies, so it is imperative that they are addressed. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3287
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMA SUPPLEM Figure 3: Visual comparison TION of the projected seasonal differe ENTARY INFO RMATION
nces (ie. winter changes – summ for; (a) extreme precipitation er changes) and (b) near-surface relative humidity (RH). In agreement hypothesis, the pattern of chang with our initial es in RH qualitatively matches that of extreme precipitation These correlations are furthe over land. r investigated in Figure 4.
(a) Change in extreme precip. [%/K]
Figure 1: Climate model projec tions for changes in extreme Figur precipitation under global warm e S8. Note the decre analy asedScalin sisNorth for Junerespognse ing. August over (JJA) ern Hemis . Multiphere (NH) fractio landmodel duringmean summ er. nal changes in (a) seasonal maxim um precipitation, (b) full precip itation extremes scaling and (c) thermodynamic scalin g in which the vertical veloci ty ωe is kept constant. (d) Difference between changes in full scaling and changes in thermodynamic scaling (full Analyse erve d tren ds from minusobs therm the odynamic). Stippling indicates Hadley Centre’s that at least clim 80% of the modelglob s agreeal on the ate extreme sign of s chang datae.set A robust (Had increa EX2 se in ) to JJA test Rx1daywhe is found ther for 47% obs oferva the global tion land s corr oborate areas, and a robust decrease for model outp Figure S7.uts. Scalin[Fig ure 2]6%. g analys
Change in near-surface relative
Figure 4: Regression of chang es in extreme precipitation agains t changes in near-surface relativ humidity in 15 of the CMIP5 e models. Each point represents a separate climate model. Panel changes over all land. Panel (a) considers (b) considers land changes only within a 30N-70N latitude band by the analysis in Figure 2. as suggested
is for December-February Figure(DJF). S8. Scalin g analys Multifor June-August (JJA). Multimodelismean fractional changes in (a) season model mean fractional al maximum precipi change s in(b) (a)full tation, season al maxim precipi tation um precipitation, (b) full precipi extremes scaling and (c) thermo tation extremes scaling dynamic scalingand (c) thermo in which dynaml ic the vertica scaling velocit which y ωin kept the vertical velocity ωe is kept consta e is constant. (d) Difference betwee nt. (d) n changes in full Differe scalingnce andbetwee changenschange s indynam in thermo full scaling and changes in thermodynam ic scaling (full minus thermodynam ic scaling (full ic). Stippling indicat minusesthermo that atdynam ic). Stippli least 80% of the ng indicates that at least 80% of models agree on the sign of change. the models agree on the A robust increase insign change DJFofRx1da . Afound robust y is forincreas e in 66% of theJJA Rx1day is found for 47% of the global land areas, and a robust global land decrease for 5%. areas, and a robust decrea se for 6%.
We have dem onstrated that NH precipitation extremes do have a distinct seasonal cycl e, as predicted by the clim ate models.
Additionally, changes in nea r-surface relative hum idity are a plausible explanation for the predicted seasonal changes in extreme precipitation.
2. Conduct an analysis of the inte
r-model difference across the state-ofthe-art CMIP5 clim ate mod el to investigate possible phy sical mechanisms. [Figure 3, Figu re 4] 1. Hypothesis: seasonal chan ges in relative hum idity inhi bit convection during sum mer (JJA) and thus reduce precipitation extreme s in that season relative to in winter. NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE |
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE |
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers
Limited, part of Springer Nature.
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE |
Limited, part of Springer Nature.
All rights reserved.
This project was completed thanks to the Laidlaw Scholars Programme at the University of Oxford.
7 Limited, part of Springer Nature.
Thanks are also due8 to Paul O’G orman and Ziwei Li who generously assi sted me in my work and in my move to Bost on.
All rights reserved.© 2017 Macmillan Publishers
All rights reserved.
IMPACT AND OUTPUT We asked our Scholars to tell us about the results of their projects – both in terms of output and impact. Here’s what they had to say… Eleni-Maria Athanasiou I hope that my research will help people to better understand the experience of women in the Easter Rising and in general; I believe that as my project was on commemoration, the opportunity to have a meaningful impact is enhanced, as it can help people to develop a more holistic understanding of commemorative celebrations which they have experienced in their lifetimes. Considering that I intend to publish my work in non-academic journals, I hope that the accessibility of my work will help people to engage better with their own views of the past and to understand the ways in which they may be influenced by the opinions of governmental bodies and academics rather than focusing on the facts and deducing their own truths from them. My original aspiration was to do just that – now, I have to wait and see if my publications generate the conversation and productive debate which I hope they will.
Carolina Earle I feel that my project is still ongoing, and I will now be putting my efforts into transforming my results into a written article or report. From here, I hope that my findings will have the potential to advise or be of concrete use in debates, discussions, and actions surrounding commemorative practices around slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Though re-iterations of the project partially changed its design, I think my findings were interesting, and have put the fundamental basis of how to design a project which would more rigorous in its results. The UN officials I spoke to said they would be interested in reading the findings of the project, and I hope that through some of the links I’ve made my research may be impactful within but also beyond the academic community. I feel a bit of trepidation writing this, as I have yet to see what will result in full from my research, but I hope that with my data in hand, I will be able to consolidate my findings in such a way that will be of use and help in current debates.
Hannah Healey The size of the project has become much bigger than I had expected and so I’m hoping that the impact will be too. I am in the process of pitching to online publications, focusing on general art and culture publications that have a wide readership beyond academia. I am also editing the text for submission to art historical journals, and working with a design studio to finalise the text for my own small publication. I am also planning to approach the National Portrait Gallery in hopes of discussing the idea of holding an exhibition of Moholy’s photographs.
Magdalena Georgieva There are two main results from my project which can benefit science and society. In terms of academic impact, with my project I explored and identified an unexpected result for modelling. I defined a clear hypothesis which can now be run through additional testing and achieve a new understanding of the non-linear mass action model in the context of epidemiology. Moreover, I am working with a class in the Math High School in Burgas (Bulgaria) where I share my research and inspire them to do research themselves. This year I am supervising a project for a student conference with a national reach which can contribute to mathematics in Bulgaria and to popularising research among students in Burgas.
Jon Machin Both parts of my research contributed to the study of Alzheimer’s, and they should both be published, one within the next 6 months to a year, the other probably in the longer-term (as it requires significant additional work to continue to pursue the novel discoveries). This creation of new knowledge continues the long-term research and societal drive for a treatment, or perhaps even a cure, for Alzheimer’s. In addition, the science outreach I was able to conduct while in Cambridge was useful both to me, and (hopefully) to those I spoke to. This broadly matched my expectations for the impact that I wanted from the project in my original proposal.
Franklin Nelson In the academic and broadsheet press, and in popular culture more broadly, motherhood seems to be receiving a greater degree of attention than perhaps ever before. I am eager to explore public-facing opportunities to share my findings as far as motherhood's relationship to the Estado Novo is concerned and to promote comparative consideration of Jorge's and Rego’s work among readers and art fans. With this in mind, I organised and chaired a panel discussion at FOLIO - The International Literary Festival of Óbidos, the biggest literary and cultural festival in Portugal, where I was joined by Lídia Jorge and Ana Gabriela Macedo, who has written on Rego, to discuss the theme of fear in Jorge's fiction and Rego's art.
Kayla Kim My impact matches up with my original aspirations pretty clearly. Next Thursday, I’m giving a speech at my old high school, and I’m going to the Central Eurasian Studies Society conference in a few weeks to present my project to the world of academia. I should finish editing the documentary in December, and will show it at the beginning of Hilary term. I have not thought about publishing work in any non-academic publications yet. I have, however had one unexpected outcome: I’ve started working with Nazari Digar (A different view), an initiative supporting parents of children with Down syndrome in Khujand, run by a Tajik woman I met in London. I’ve used my film skills to make them a promotional video, and I’ve done photography for several of their events. It’s not really related to my project, but I’m glad I found them and am excited to work with them more in the future!
Phoebe Whitehead It’s been amazing to see my project be successful! Collecting results from my experiment which actually worked was tremendous, and I loved the chance to be able to show what I could achieve. In November I will be attending a conference at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory in New York. The opportunity to meet individuals all over the world who specialise in similar areas will be a great occasion for me to discuss my work and expand my understanding of this area. I am also excited to discuss my project with individuals beyond the immediate academic circle and will be giving a talk at a national science charity for schoolchildren in the new year.
Mustafaen Kamal I was extremely lucky in the impact aspect of my project as several government departments in Pakistan wanted to hear about my research and I was able to present to them. This included the Social Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Religion. My supervisor will also connect me to a number of magazines that are concerned with social affairs and this will help me spread my work around the community I was studying. I also presented my work at the annual Islamic Society Research Conference here in Oxford as well as a similar conference in Cambridge.
Laidlaw alumna Dominika Durovcikova shares her experiences with this year’s Scholars
Jake Topping My original aspiration for the project was to investigate whether the recent advances in AI could be analysed and utilised for bettering human learning in a range of tasks. While the final experiments on assisted learning are still to be done, my project evolved in such a way that the impact may exceed this aspiration. A vast amount of brainpower and money is being invested worldwide into increasing efficiency and accessibility of learning tasks; consider computers being brought into the classroom, driving simulations, or even the number of language-learning apps that are out there. The fact that in this project we could alter the training process of an AI to make its progression interpretable as more humanlike, along with the fact that the model used is mathematically suitable for optimising, suggests that we can use an AI in this style to mathematically find the best training examples for a task to help a human move from one skill level to the next. This is easiest to visualise in simpler contexts, like an AI suggesting particular math problems to solve or sentences to translate, but in theory is applicable in any task in which reinforcement learning has begun to overtake human performance.
Bethan James I believe my project has the capacity to make a genuine impact within the university but also wider society. Given that it interrogates questions of socioeconomic, national and academic identity amongst students who are my peers I always felt like I had a duty to do this research to the best of my ability. I feel this scholarship has given me the support to do just that and although some of my findings matched up to the kind of data I was expecting, I also gathered plenty of data that has presented new and unexpected questions that I hope I can translate to actionable suggestions in the output of my study. It was such a rewarding feeling when my supervisor said he thought my project held real value and as the first sociolinguistic study of Welsh speech in university I recognise there is so much more to be done, but hope that this can act as a touchstone for further, more expansive research.
IMPACT AND OUTPUT Petr Jakubcik In the last week of my placement I presented my findings to the IceCube collaboration which oversees the implementation of new hardware for future upgrades. It went down well and it now seems that my mTOMs will be used as prototypes for models which will one day make it into the Antarctic ice (which was the ultimate goal of my project). I have also helped the Laboratory for Nuclear Sciences outreach programme CosmicWatch extensively during my placement. I still remain in contact with high school teachers in the US, Europe, India, Uruguay, and help them use the detectors I assembled for them to their pupils’ advantage. I have also linked up my high school with the administrators of the MIT outreach project and the school’s students will try to make improvements to the detectors in robotics classes, learning about particle physics instrumentation on the way. I will also give a talk about my project and research as a career- and life- choice soon.
Jiaqi Kang The impact of my project is societal and academic. I will be the first researcher to explicitly address the problematic aspects of mainstream opinions about Bouabré’s artwork, and I hope to inspire a reconsideration of his legacy. However, most importantly, I believe that everyone at Oxford has a responsibility to work in making the University more accessible to people from marginalised groups, and to deconstruct any myths about Oxbridge. I also want to overturn misconceptions about Art History being a useless subject, something that even Barack Obama endorsed. By publishing my article in The ISIS, which is not only Oxford’s main student magazine with a wide readership and which is free of charge, but which also gets sent to schools across the UK, I hope to make more people aware of the problems within art history and of art history’s ability to make a real impact on society by engaging with current issues such as postcoloniality and racism. This impact will be even wider when The ISIS eventually puts the article online.
Dan Park I am working with my supervisor to have my paper submitted to an academic journal, so hopefully it will have an impact there. I have also been invited to the Universal Basic Income Lab in Sheffield to speak about my findings. The wider impact of this project is from a policy perspective. There has been a recent spate of articles showing that increasing welfare payments is much more effective than increasing funding to hospitals for improving physical health in the population (life expectancy, infant mortality, lung cancer, type-2 diabetes etc). This is the first article that focuses on mental health and it finds corroborating results, contributing to the literature calling for greater levels of social spending in the pursuit of better population health.
“The Laidlaw Scholar I supervised was so exceptional that it turned out to be a privilege to be involved.”
Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa, University of Cambridge
Roshan Karthikappallil Does my impact match my aspirations? So far, yes! I may be able to publish my research in a journal, which was literally my highest expectation from the Laidlaw programme. We found that while all DNA repair pathways are necessary for healthy aging, all of them must be impaired to affect lifespan. If this leads to a clinical intervention, then it should have a huge societal impact.
Lucy Manukyan Outcomes: I have presented my project at a poster session at my host institution. The results of the project will also be published once the plants are tested in the field. Impact: The model plant tobacco was used as a testbed to show that improving photosynthesis improves yields and goes a step further to improve water use efficiency (WUE). My project was the first step to show that this modification results in improvements in crop plants as well. Eventually, the developed technique will be translated into crops that are important for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. These are populations where food shortage creates inequality and results in not only nutritional, but also social and political issues. These are also regions that are predicted to be affected most by population increase, which means exacerbation of abovementioned issues. History teaches us that this could result in largescale conflict. Another crucial issue that our planet is facing is climate change. And while it is critical to take action to minimise its consequences, it is inevitably going to affect many areas of our lives, including agriculture. Therefore, it is important to also build resilience. Improved WUE in the new plant varieties will achieve just that.
Rosie Sourbut I am looking forward to presenting my findings to the public through presentations and in the press. I hope to engage both academics and the general public in my research and to raise awareness and concern about food poverty. As a consequence of my project, I have also been invited to join the Labour Hunger Campaign as a researcher, and I hope to be able to positively influence social policy through this role.
Alessandra Peters In 2017, the World Health Organisation warned of the spread of untreatable strains of multidrug-resistant bacteria, fuelling fears that last-resort antibiotics will soon be futile. The aim of this project was to potentially lead to a novel antibiotic treatment which could make resistant strains susceptible again. More generally, the mechanism of exploiting endogenous metal transport systems and the use of synthetic conjugates may provide targets for control of pathogenic virulence in many other microbial infections. My project showed that the method of action of the drug I was studying in fact seemed to be entirely different to the proposed mechanism, and this could have significant effects on its use in treatment. Moreover, this could lead to dangerous off-target effects. In addition to lab-based impact, I have worked at increasing awareness of antibiotic resistance through podcasts and a blog. Although I was unable to publish my data, I feel that what I have completed has fulfilled my original aspirations and I'm looking forward to continuing the impact of my project through the rest of my career.
Cecilia Hoegfeldt Since I have been working in a low-and-middle-income country context where resources are scarce, I have really appreciated the Laidlaw Programme’s emphasis on and support for research impact. My initial aspirations for impact included running workshops with healthcare providers working with women with GDM, and an academic article. I am in the process of organising both the workshops and the academic article. Furthermore, throughout my research, my supervisors and myself were shocked to see the high proportion of women with GDM who are in desperate need of social and psychological support. As a result, we have decided to pilot a few peer-support sessions for women with GDM. I am going back to South Africa to run these peer-support sessions and complete a report for the department of health in the Western Cape about our research findings. I am also developing information material about GDM and maternal distress for women with GDM, since such material is lacking at present.
Andrew Williams In this research project we have shown that there does in fact exist a distinct seasonal cycle to increases in extreme precipitation due to climate change. The impact of these results will be further explored as we write them up as a journal article, but for now it is already clear that this seasonal cycle is substantial and could have sizeable future impacts on monsoon dynamics and the livelihood of those many millions who live in at-risk flood regions.
Pro Vice Chancellor Martin Williams at this year’s celebration event
Ishaan Kapoor My project showed that there is binding between SIRPα and Laminin. While we proved this in cell culture and not in an in vivo system, should the research and outcome be translatable to mammalian models, the effects can be numerous. If the proteins would act as adherent substrates in the brain, regulating this binding could help correct for developmental defects that are characterised by a lack of dendritic spine stability such as autism and other memory-impairing conditions such as Alzheimer’s. If the system is relevant somatically in organs such as the skin, correcting for defects in binding may help address other developmental conditions that are characterised by improper cell adhesion such as epidermolysis bullosa.
Kristiina Joon We are currently working on writing up the project and thinking about publishing it, especially the code used for data analysis.
Josh Dickerson I’ve submitted two papers during my Laidlaw project and hopefully a third paper will also come out of it. I also presented a poster at the European Crystallographic Association in Vienna, and was surprised about the amount of interest in my work. I was especially surprised that there were other people working in the same area and millions of pounds had already been spent with the confidence it will work! Hopefully this will lead to advances in serial crystallography and ultimately better drug discovery. In Vienna, I also got the chance to help at a public lecture about the last 100 years of crystallography. Hopefully this will raise awareness for its importance and potentially inspire more people to enter the field.
ADVICE FROM OUR LAIDLAW SCHOLARS We asked our Scholars if they had any advice for people thinking about applying to the programme. Here’s what they had to say… Carolina Earle I found that re-visiting the why and being confident in the purpose of my project was a really important part of selfguided research. I really enjoyed the ongoing process of finding events and conferences to attend, and hearing from academics who were working in some of the areas I was interested in. Reaching out to contacts and putting down the groundwork in advance was very helpful, but there was also an organic side to these meet-ups which made the process exciting and re-iterative as I went along. My advice would be to take up and relish all the opportunities that you can, whether expected or not!
Magdalena Georgieva The obvious things are: think about a project that you will genuinely enjoy learning about, devise it in such a way that you can use the opportunity to learn as many new things as possible, and choose a supervisor who will have the time and desire to sit down and talk it through before you have applied. Know your project proposal and plan inside and out before you have started. Make sure you are open to the leadership training as it can lead to unexpected solutions and additional gains and progress. Last but not least, the research environment plays an important role so make sure to choose an exciting research group and to experience the culture of the (new) place you are going to in the summer to the fullest.
Phoebe Whitehead Make sure you choose a project you enjoy! You are spending at least two months working on answering your question, so you need to ensure you love what you’re doing and willing to put the (sometimes extra) hours into making it work. There will be times when nothing goes right, or you have to start something all over again, but enjoying what you are doing helps you to keep going and makes it worthwhile. I’d also recommend asking a lot of questions! Everyone you are working with is happy to help and share their knowledge, so don’t be afraid of asking them the same question a thousand times. Discuss your project with your supervisor frequently and ask them for advice. Although they might not always know the answer, they have so much experience and knowledge they can point you in the right direction.
Eleni-Maria Athanasiou They should be daring! If they don’t try, they’re missing out on an incredible opportunity for research and very engaging academic work. I would also recommend that they go for it even if they think their idea is strange or difficult to put into practice; the programme is very receptive to unique projects and they also will benefit from the freedom to choose their own format for the publication of their work. It is a truly unique opportunity because it is not comparable to any academic projects they will undertake in their undergraduate studies. Finally, I’d recommend reaching out for help if they feel they need it during the application process – previous scholars, and the whole Laidlaw team, are so, so lovely and really make you feel that they want you to succeed!
Hannah Healey I’d say just go for it. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make a strong enough application, that my project wasn’t interesting enough and that I wouldn’t be able to write a research proposal rigorous enough. But it felt like the interviewers were really interested in my ideas and didn’t expect me to have absolutely everything worked out, and they made suggestions for ways the project could be improved. Don’t be shy about contacting academics or anyone else that is relevant to your project, as having your own funding and the programme behind you has meant, in my experience, that people are happy to help. My supervisor also wrote me a letter of introduction that I attached to emails whenever I was first making contact which was really helpful.
Bethan James Quash any anxieties that you might not be the right kind of person to apply for such a scholarship: everyone I met had approached their application with different aims and expectations. The one thing that we all have in common is that we identified something deserving of more time and energy than a regular term-time essay or casual reading. Find whatever that is for you, then make an application. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose! In terms of the research itself, my advice is to be flexible. The study will evolve; some things might go wrong and you’ll have to rethink, while something else might work even better than you expected. Hopefully you will have a helpful supervisor to support and advise you, and it is good to remember that these are situations that professional academics and researchers encounter on a daily basis.
Jiaqi Kang I would recommend future Laidlaw applicants look up academics whose work you admire and respect who are faculty at smaller universities and might have more time to help and guide you. You should give academics plenty of time to reply to emails, and I would start contacting potential supervisors very early on in the process. Finally, a personal support network is also important: friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in the area who might want to have lunch or to travel together on the weekends is great for morale. The Bumble app has a ‘best friends’ mode that you can use to get to know people with similar interests. Don’t hesitate to put yourself out there!
Rosie Sourbut I would advise future applicants to really think through the time frame over which they are going to carry out their project, and to leave some stretch time at the end. I found having goals of what would be achieved each week really helpful; while these shifted throughout the project, it was still useful to have the sense of being on track, and to break the project down into smaller chunks. I would also advise future applicants to reach out to academics researching your area before and during the project; everyone I contacted was really keen to provide advice and to share their knowledge, and this was very helpful for everything from choosing research methods to finding important reading in the area.
Dan Park Be flexible. Something will go wrong and that is a normal part of the process! The data that I was going to analyse had not been gathered by the time I got to Canada so I had to consult with my supervisor and change the focus. In hindsight, this meant that my project was better as the results are more impactful and far-reaching. When something goes wrong, make sure to consult others. This is your first foray into independent research and everyone is aware of this, so there are no stupid questions. Everyone in the research centre was really happy to help me, even if they had no connection to the project. Academics working in universities do so because they are passionate about something and they will enjoy teaching you about it if you are interested and willing to learn.
Roshan Karthikappallil Be ambitious when picking a host institution! Pick a city you’ve always wanted to visit or work in, because this is a great opportunity to travel. Spend a lot of time planning your project properly, as this will save you a lot of mistakes. Practise techniques a lot first. Research isn’t that hard in the end, but it’s more about being organised to prevent screw ups. I would recommend staying in student housing with other researchers, as it will help you to meet other people quickly while you are away.
Jon Machin One of the most unusual and valuable features of the Laidlaw Programme is that it allows you as an undergraduate to think as big as you want – as long as it’s research, it falls within the remit of the programme. This gives you the opportunity to create a project based around your interests and where you want to go in the world, so don’t feel constrained. My original project proposal fell apart when I had significant complexities that prevented me from getting a US visa. Always keep the Careers Service up to date with everything because the office there is super supportive and useful. While obviously not ideal, if you face genuine difficulties completing your original research project, they provide lots of support for you to redesign the project.
ADVICE FROM OUR LAIDLAW SCHOLARS Kayla Kim Don’t ignore mental health when planning your trip! One thing I realised during my placement is that being a foreigner in a really different place can be isolating, and I needed other foreigners around sometimes (this was one of those surprising truths about myself that I was disappointed to learn). I heard that some students from Oxford were passing through Khujand on vacation, so I got in touch, and showing them around was a highlight. During my week in Dushanbe, I also stayed in a hostel so I could just chat to people just passing through. Mental health can be strange; mine involved meeting strangers, eating peanut butter, going to the gym.
Cecilia Hoegfeldt I would like to emphasise the importance of planning and particularly being aware of ethics if the project involves human participants. I faced several difficulties in relation to this, since I needed ethics permission from Oxford and Cape Town. The two ethics committees were very different, and I spent a lot more time than I expected trying to get the procedures right. Thus, even in the early phases of developing a research protocol, I think it is important to be aware of potential ethical regulations.
Franklin Nelson Above all, enjoy yourself and appreciate the Programme for what it is, an invitation not to overwork and become stressed but to delve deeper into a topic that interests you, at a sensible and rewarding pace. Two specific pieces of advice I would offer are as follows. Firstly, in the event that your project requires ethical approval before it can get underway, I would strongly encourage you to begin completing the necessary paperwork as early as possible, as the last thing you’ll want is for (important) box-ticking to eat into your research time. Secondly, make sure to speak to your supervisor(s) early on about what you intend to produce with your findings; they’ll have a busy schedule of their own, so they might not be able to offer you and your work as much time as you anticipate.
Jake Topping If you’re travelling to a country with a significant time difference, make sure to either get quickly involved in social groups where you’re based or to start planning catch-ups with friends and family back home by phone or video call. Admittedly I’m a bit of a homebody anyway, but going from being surrounded by friends at uni to a new place where you don’t really know anyone can be quite jarring while you’re still getting settled in!
Leon Hughes My first piece of advice would be to apply! It’s extremely exciting and goes as far as the extent of your imagination. I never would have had the opportunity to combine such varied and (to me) exciting elements as the French Revolution, GIS and emotions in any coherent or sustained study without the generous Laidlaw grant. On a more practical note, looking into how you are going to live is imperative for moving across the globe for 10 weeks. Although this sounds quite self-evident, my time in Missouri was more difficult than it needed to be due to the lack of furnishings in the room I had booked, or the dearth of trains to get into Kansas City. As well as this, term hadn’t started (it began the day I left) and so there were no students / university activities, which made for a bit of a ghost-town. These are questions and information that I should have asked my supervisor or relevant administrative liaisons at UCM and are imperative if your stay is to be as enjoyable as possible!
Josh Dickerson: With regards to planning a project, I would make sure everyone has a clear and detailed plan of what they are going to do and when during their project. However, this must be extremely flexible. Particularly in science, the project will not go exactly to plan and you must make sure you can still salvage something and get out as much as you can.
Lucy Manukyan When choosing a project, truly follow your passion. Research, especially in science, is full of obstacles and even the most meticulous planning cannot account for the problems that may come up along the way. Being passionate about your project will be hugely important to give perseverance to keep going. Use every opportunity to interact with people at your host institution: postdocs, PhD students, PIs and people outside of work. Conversations can teach a lot about your research area and life in general. The more ties you make with people you meet as part of your experience, the better your impressions will be. Most importantly, do not hesitate to apply for the Laidlaw Programme: you wonâ€™t know what you are capable of unless you try.
Alessandra Peters Get to know your supervisor before you arrive! Having Skype calls and regular emails with my supervisor really helped me improve my plan, and she sent me several papers, methods and resources to study so that I was able to hit the ground running. I would also recommend finding out whether you need to complete any safety training when working in a lab as you might need to prepare for that. During the application process, spend a significant amount of time thinking about the leadership aspect and what you would gain from it, in addition to the academic research; it really is a big part of the programme, and although your project proposal will of course be very exciting, I gained just as much if not more knowledge and skill from the leadership and management training.
You should recognise that in many respects the Laidlaw Programme can be a mutually beneficial endeavour for you and for your potential supervisor. While you will of course approach them with courtesy and respect, if you have the right skills and enthusiasm you may be doing them as much a favour as they are doing you.
You should be confident about your strengths but admit your weaknesses. I confessed my lack of experience with electronics straight away, and my supervisor linked me up with a grad student who was able to get me on board.
I would say that the most important thing when applying is to not be daunted by contacting potential supervisor. Most of the time, they are happy to have somebody work in their group and can also help a lot with coming up with potential research questions.
Something else to consider is the reality of the project. It helps, or at least would have helped me, to know and to plan what I will be doing each day or each week, so that there is some structure to the project. Thinking it through in this way also helps to understand what it would be like to actually be doing the project and whether it would be interesting or something I want to do.
Be as specific as possible when applying, try to show a real interest for a niche area of research that speaks to you. Make sure that you only apply if you are ready to make the most of this Programme, it really is an unparalleled opportunity. Realise that the leadership aspect, although less formal, is most definitely the more resounding aspect of the Programme that can stay with you for a long time to come. Make sure you plan your project early. I was handicapped because of how informal infrastructure is in Pakistan, so I often had to book tickets at short notice. Be ready to be agile, you will make the most of this experience if you can keep an open mind about what you get involved with.
Andrew Williams Use the Careers Service! There is so much support available to those applying to for the Laidlaw Scholarship and I feel many don't utilise it fully - so make sure you do!
Ishaan Kapoor I think it would have been good to find someone to help me with a scientific timeline. While I knew about the techniques and experiments I was going to conduct, I had very little inkling as to how much time each would take and how many repeats of each I would need to do. The second piece of advice that helped me immensely was to get started on the visa process early. Since my home institution had a lot of experience with visiting students, they were incredibly efficient and managed to remove any stress and impending disaster related to travel. Finally, I would try to get involved with social settings outside the lab such as undergraduate communities, societies or local clubs as it allows you to meet some interesting people and helps make the most of your summer beyond academics.
Laidlaw Scholars Undergraduate Research & Leadership Programme The Internship Office The Careers Service University of Oxford 56 Banbury Road Oxford OX2 6PA
Laidlaw Scholars undertake a research project at any world-leading research institution, along with an exclusive programme of leadership tra...
Published on Dec 3, 2019
Laidlaw Scholars undertake a research project at any world-leading research institution, along with an exclusive programme of leadership tra...