This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Sunday 9 June 2024, 11.15am to 12.15pm
  • Location: In-person only
    Law and Sociology Building, Campus East, University of York (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Hear from some of the next generation of biomedical researchers as they explain how their work is unravelling the secrets of chronic and infectious diseases using advanced technology and creative thinking.

From cancer to tropical diseases, postgraduate students from the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York share the impact of their work on our health and wellbeing.

Following an introduction by the University’s Director of Biomedical Sciences Programme Paul Genever, each student will introduce their research, before taking part in an audience Q&A.

The talks will be on the following topics:  

An Evolving World: Neglected tropical diseases and climate change

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are estimated to affect over one billion people in developing countries where extreme poverty further marginalises sufferers of this group of diseases. NTDs have profound health and socio-economic consequences and are known to cause long-term disability in affected individuals. Due to climate change, vectors, such as blood-sucking insects like mosquitoes, capable of transmitting several of these NTDs are being redistributed across nations in response to the rising temperatures. This will undoubtedly pose a challenge to governments and healthcare professionals who work as first responders to diagnose and treat these diseases, often characterised by a wide range of symptoms in people infected with an NTD. 

Using Genetic Fingerprints to Find the Culprit in Bladder Cancer

What is the real cause of bladder cancer? Historically, the risk factors for bladder cancer have been smoking, ageing and exposure to industrial carcinogens. However, the advancement of genetic testing has allowed for mass screening of cancer samples that tell a different story. The talk will begin with an introduction to ‘genetic fingerprints’ and how they provide critical information as to the root cause of cancer. The focus will then be on recently identified ‘fingerprints’ of bladder cancer and how they have revolutionised our understanding of the disease, leading to the central question: Could a virus be behind bladder cancer?

Battling Blood Cancers: A new hope for targeting cancer cells

Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK and is the most common type of cancer in young people. In the UK, there are currently over 250,000 people living with blood cancer. Although outcomes are improving, especially in children and young people, current therapies rely on highly toxic treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Future research in blood cancers focuses on increasing our understanding of how blood cells are made, and critically, what happens when this goes wrong in cancer. If we can fully understand what goes wrong in cancer, we can discover novel, kinder therapeutics to help battle blood cancers and provide a new hope for these patients

Fishing for Clues in Neuroscience

Leukodystrophies are a group of rare inherited brain disorders characterised by abnormal growth of white matter, a type of tissue that is deeper in the brain. This disease primarily affects children leading to brain degeneration and progressive loss of cognitive and motor function. Previous studies of leukodystrophies have not been as successful at producing effective therapies as desired. Hear how zebrafish are now being used in a study of the disease to overcome this challenge. The hope is to increase our understanding of this disease, helping to inform the development of new therapies for a disease which is sorely lacking in treatment options.

Find out more about the York Biomedical Research Institute.

Photo credit: Alex Holland, University of York

About the speakers

Paul Genever is Director of Biomedical Sciences Postgraduate Research Programmes at the University of York. His research focuses on the cell and molecular biology of skeletal tissues. He is particularly interested in understanding how cells in bone marrow can control inflammation and tissue regeneration, systems that often go wrong in human disease. Paul was recently involved in setting up a new therapeutics company to translate his research into new treatments for people living with arthritis.

Nathalia Thompson is a first year Biomedical Science PhD student in the Biology Department at the University of York. Her research focuses on African Trypanosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease that affects a wide range of mammals in Africa. She is interested in understanding how proteins released by Trypanosome brucei (the parasite that causes the disease) could aid the parasite to invade cells. Nathalia is also a former lab technician and registered general nurse, who aims to combine her research and clinical skills to make healthcare accessible to individuals in developing countries.

George Hatton is a first year Biomedical Science PhD student working in the Jack Birch Unit for Molecular Carcinogenesis. George’s project explores BK polyomavirus infection and its potential role as a cause for bladder cancer. His particular focus is on how the urothelium – the tissue lining the ureter, bladder, and upper-urethra – responds to this infection using ‘APOBEC’ proteins that damage the body’s cells, potentially leading to bladder cancer. He hopes that this work will help change our understanding of the cause of bladder cancer, and how we may prevent it in the future.

Lizzy Morritt is a second year Biomedical Science PhD student based in the Centre for Blood Research at the University of York. Her research is focusing on characterising the structure and function of a protein that is vital for the development of blood cells. Her research aims to enhance our understanding of the mechanism of blood cell formation, and how this is altered in disease. She hopes by applying these new understandings, that she will find better ways to target cancer cells more efficiently and develop more effective and kinder therapies.  

Diogo Candeias is a first year PhD student in the Biology Department at the University of York working in Dr Noémie Hamilton’s lab. His research is looking at a novel leukodystrophy – a white matter (a type of tissue in the brain) disease. He is particularly interested in investigating the types of molecules and cells that drive this disease using non-mammalian organisms, namely the zebrafish and fruit fly. Diogo’s research is attempting to further understand the mechanisms of the disease with the aim of informing the development of new treatments for patients.


York Biomedical Research Institute University of York Centre for Blood Research

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible