2nd August 2017

Winner of Inaugural MCR Writing Competition: Ex Aula

Screenshot 2017-08-02 23.21.29The 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 by dung beetles in reusing waste.

Ex Aula was started by the MCR (Middle Common Room, the College’s postgraduate student body) in January this year, as a new initiative to share and publicise more of the research being carried out by its members, in a wide variety of different subject areas. All the journal articles are aimed at non-specialist readers, and give a quick introduction to some aspect of the writer’s research area.

To date, 14 Ex Aula articles have been published and a judging panel of St Edmund Hall SCR members Dr Emily Winkler (photo: middle), Dr Linda Yueh, and Professor Paul Skokowski had the difficult task of selecting the winner. The panel explained their decision as follows: “The title of the essay hooks the reader from the start. The entry’s coverage is expansive, ranging from ancient Egypt to Australian cattle. The colourful descriptions keep the reader engaged and informed about an important research area. As one judge put it, ‘What’s not to like!’ This year’s winner was chosen because the essay epitomises the aim of the prize, which is to make research accessible to a wider audience and more relevant to people’s lives.”


DPhil students Tim Donnison (photo: left) and Trent Taylor (photo: right) are the founders and editors of Ex Aula, and are already looking forward to encouraging more submissions in the next academic year and continuing to build the readership of the journal. “We both feel that the inaugural year for Ex Aula went tremendously well,” said Tim, “with all the published articles being accessible, interesting and covering a range of subject areas.”

Recent Research Highlights

3rd March 2019

Toxic learning: The neuroscience of drug addiction


I just got back from the swimming pool. When I was in the pool, I very vividly recalled my memories from my childhood when I used to swim competitively. Why did this distant, abstract experience feel so powerfully familiar? As I finished pondering this bizarre feeling, it occurred that I had been (thankfully) swimming without […]

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24th February 2019

The Conflicting Realities of Parenting with Psychosis


I am a student in my 20s without any children or dependents. You could argue that there is no role in life granted more freedom than mine. In my position, you have the flexibility to choose how you spend your time and who you spend it with. You can spontaneously choose to meet a friend […]

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17th February 2019

AI + Entertainment: A tale of bridging two creativities

mayur 1

Look at the image above. What do you think about this artwork? Any clue how much does this cost? Hold your heart, my friend, as it was auctioned for just $432,500. You might be wondering if the painting is embellished with riches of all sorts but no, it’s the painter who attracted this huge price […]

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11th February 2019

Enzymes: The Magic Wand of Life

Figure 2. Enzymes helping to digest food in the mouth. 'E' here stands for enzyme

At various facets of life, I came across many who looked at me in awe when I tell them that I study Chemistry, because it is considered to be a subject that is difficult to understand easily and complicated to learn. However, many are unaware that there are millions of chemical reactions that occur in […]

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2nd February 2019

No food to eat? Don’t starve! How starvation drives tumour evolution, therapy resistance and metastasis

Multiphoton fluorescence image of cultured HeLa cells with a fluorescent protein targeted to the Golgi apparatus (orange), microtubules (green) and counterstained for DNA (cyan). NIH-funded work at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-lacks-family-reach-understanding-share-genomic-data-hela-cells.

Our lives revolve around food. We think about it all of the time (at least I do!). We have to eat to survive and we even plan our lives around it. During festive celebrations such as birthdays or Christmas for instance, we stuff our faces with calorie-laden treats. As we evolved, our ancestors adapted to […]

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