Research Spotlight

1st June 2017

The Molecules of Life That Trigger Death

Layal Liverpool, DPhil in Infection, Immunology, and Translational Medicine Nucleic acids –  DNA and RNA – are the molecules of life. Without them we wouldn’t exist but, ironically, they are the very molecules used by viruses to hijack our cells. Viral nucleic acids act like a virus-blueprint, containing all the instructions necessary to make more […]

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24th May 2017

The Death of the Brainstem: Should Each Person be Permitted to Define Death for Themselves?

  Jake White,  Law Established understandings of when death occurs have been critically undermined by technological advancement and medical innovation. Conceptions of what ‘it’ is that is constitutive of human life has been destabilised as medical intervention makes possible the continuation of major organs that would otherwise succumb to failure. Where a patient is in […]

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18th May 2017

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Developing Antibiotics

Hannah Behrens, DPhil Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine (m.2015) Although first discovered in 1928, it was only during the Second World War that Penicillin was developed into a drug that could cure people of bacterial diseases. This started the “antibiotic era” and is considered to be one of the most important medical discoveries of the […]

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3rd May 2017

The Paradox of Reality

Linde Wester, a fourth year DPhil in Computer Science Reality cannot exist. At least not any reasonable reality. A reasonable reality must satisfy some basic assumptions such as causality: the idea that the past can influence events in the future, but not the other way around. We’ve known this since 2005, when research groups from The […]

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26th April 2017

Manuscript to Meme: Medieval Books and Modern Reading

Thomas Kittel, a second year DPhil in English Political events in 2016 gave new currency to the terms ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’. They were selected by the Oxford English Dictionary and the Macquarie Dictionary, respectively, as Words of the Year, defining a climate characterised by unexpected shifts and divisions in public opinion. These terms describe […]

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10th March 2017

Not All Engineers Build Buildings: Working with Proteins on a Nanoscale

  Theodora Bruun Doing research in a protein lab, the most common question I get asked is ‘Are you doing it for the gains?’ (Gains is a colloquial term for building muscle through going to the gym and often by consuming large amounts of protein). If you’re like most people, on a day-to-day basis you […]

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2nd March 2017

Megafloods on Mars: New Perspectives on an Old Mystery

  Lucy Kissick, a first year DPhil in Earth Sciences When the team behind NASA’s Mariner 9 mission first glimpsed the surface of Mars forty-five years ago, they were shocked to discover an entirely different planet to their predecessors’ observations. Mariners 4, 6, and 7 all by chance observed the same crater-scarred, moonlike highlands during […]

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24th February 2017

Inflamed Hearts and Clogged Brains

Modh Karim, a first year DPhil in Population Health Heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes – it is difficult to find someone who has not had a friend, relative, or family member afflicted by one of these scourges. With the recent advent of an array of diagnostic tests and novel drugs, we have made remarkable […]

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14th February 2017

Dung Beetles: We Should All Talk More About Poo

Elizabeth Raine, DPhil in Zoology (2014) When meeting new people and asked to explain what I study for my DPhil I am ashamed to say I often try to steer clear of mentioning dung beetles. It’s not generally seen as socially acceptable to immediately start talking to a complete stranger about poo – especially over […]

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