Research Spotlight

25th March 2018

Caricaturing Terror

How does one draw tragedy? How can terror be depicted without trivialising the sorrow of those who suffered from it? In Pakistan terror is not something one can caricaturise, when the terrorist can be present a few metres from you, ready to detonate a bomb in the centre of your hometown [1]. When you cannot […]

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11th March 2018

Molecules that make you think: using genetics to understand our emotions

The most common question I’ve been asked when introducing my work to strangers, friends, and Tinder dates has been “but aren’t mental illnesses…in the mind? What do genes or molecules have anything to do with it?” The answer is, in short, everything. Each of our mental functions is fundamentally rooted in biological processes that can […]

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4th March 2018

Romance Comic Books, the Cold War, and Teaching Women Their Place

I came across romance comic books by accident during a tiring Google search for a topic for a term paper. At first, I thought romance comic books were a joke – that a modern artist had created them to make fun of 1950’s domestic ideals. Then I found out that Captain America creators, Joe Simon […]

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18th February 2018

Coming Up For Air: 100 Million Years of Ocean Biology

  George Cuvier was a young man at the Storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789. It was under the shadow of the French Revolution that he developed the concept of ‘catastrophism’. In the midst of the radical political changes that were engulfing Europe, Cuvier speculated that the Earth itself had undergone radical, […]

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11th February 2018

How smart is your smartphone?

  Nowadays, smartphones facilitate anything and everything, from sending emails to facial recognition.  But did you know these phones also have the capability to diagnose illnesses- sometimes even before the onset of any visible symptoms? Neurological disorders affect hundreds of millions of lives each year. Although these diseases can largely be attributed to genetics, they […]

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4th February 2018

Rise of the Machines: The Future of Innovation

‘Artificial Intelligence Just Discovered New Planets’! ‘A New Sensor Gives Driverless Cars a Human-Like View of the World’! ‘Google supercomputer creates its own ‘AI child’ that can outperform any machine made by humans’!   Recent headlines reporting technological developments could easily be confused with science fiction, thanks to very real advances in artificial intelligence (AI). […]

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28th January 2018

The Lakes That Kept Mars Warm

Hundreds of generations over tens of millennia have observed the night sky’s wandering, pale red dot with fascination, but it is only in the last tens of years that we have begun to know Mars as a world. Though far removed from nineteenth-century dreams of sweeping vegetation and colossal canals, the Mars revealed to us […]

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21st January 2018

From Russia Without Love: Putin, Cybersecurity, and the West

Whenever people walk in on me watching Vladimir Putin on Russia Today (RT) and see my notebook full of Russian handwriting, suspicious looks are often given, and questions usually arise – including, occasionally, what government I’m working for. Fear not. I’ve never participated in a high-stakes poker game, nor do I carry around a syringe […]

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18th October 2017

2017/18 Teddy Hall MCR Writing Competition open

The MCR is excited to announce the call for articles for this year’s writing competition. The MCR journal, Ex Aula: Research from the Hall, was founded last year by the MCR and published 14 articles over Hilary and Trinity Term. The inaugural winning article, by Beth Raine, was chosen by the judging panel made up […]

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2nd August 2017

Winner of Inaugural MCR Writing Competition: Ex Aula

The winner of the first Ex Aula prize, for the best article submitted to the Teddy Hall MCR online journal, has been announced as Elizabeth Raine (2014, DPhil in Zoology). Elizabeth receives the £500 prize for her intriguingly-titled article, ‘Dung Beetles: We Should All Talk More About Poo’, in which she discusses the fascinating and often underestimated role played […]

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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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