Drug Discovery Project

Dirt, Drugs and Dolly the Sheep

For one week in June, AS students studying Biology, Chemistry and Psychology all got together to expand their knowledge beyond the syllabus. They took part in a number of exciting activities including visiting the Wellcome Collection, masking aspirin and doing their own research, to be demonstrated at the end of the week in group presentations.

Where there’s muck……

Our day trip in Euston was fascinating. The Wellcome Collection contains visible evidence of how our methods and view on drugs and medicine as a whole have greatly developed over the centuries. There was an exhibition with artwork that people had produce portraying the way they feel about particular medical conditions such as obesity and other diseases related to malnourishment. We were equipped with some of the latest information about DNA and even saw before our eyes a copy of the whole human genome written out in a combination of the 4 nitrogenous bases of DNA. The print was tiny but still managed to fill dozens of thick books. We also learnt more about cloning and particularly the case of ‘Dolly the Sheep’ which was great because it furthered our understanding of a topic we learnt about in our Biology AS level (for those who took the subject). The museum is also housing the famous Dirt exhibition, which features exquisite pen-and-ink drawings of bacteria from early microscope observations, and paintings of blue-lipped cholera victims from 19th century London, as well as shocking photographs of workers in modern-day Kolkata going about their everyday job of removing human excreta from public cesspits.

By Elliot Kent and Sabina Patel

Sugar all round

Students also really enjoyed doing the research and presentation task – which could be on a drug, a family of drugs or a disease. They were split into nine groups and each picked a different topic. Elliot’s group did ‘The Placebo Effect’ and were truly amazed at how so many illnesses could be cured just by consuming sugar! At the end of the project each group stood at the front of the hall and a panel of the finest judges from the Brampton staff along with other students passed an approving judgement on the proceedings. Leader of the winning group, Sabina, said “I know the effort and time teams spent to present our chosen topics to the best of our ability. My team decided to focus on the very topical E-coli bacteria causing diseases such as HUS, and how the worlds most expensive drug Soliris is being researched into curing it. We found the topic very interesting and this only encouraged us to put one hundred and ten per cent into providing the panel, teachers, parents and fellow students the most information we could, in a fun but professional way. Overall my team felt this was a great opportunity, which allowed us to develop our team work skills, and as leader I developed skills in delegating roles and using responsibility well.”