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Insight blog: Posts tagged with MRC Centenary

Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.

Celebrating a century of international collaboration

8 Jan 2014

Medical research benefits people worldwide, and science is an increasingly global endeavour. But how much do we know about how scientists work together across countries? Here we look at some of the key international collaborations that MRC scientists have been involved in the past 100 years, from the 1940s trial of streptomycin for tuberculosis to testing a smartphone app that tests eye health in Kenya.

[Video link for access] [...]

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The 12 days of the MRC Centenary

19 Dec 2013

2013 has been a big year for the MRC, marking 100 years since our founding committee met for the first time to plan the spending of public money on medical research. We’ve achieved much since then, and throughout the year we celebrated the past, present and future of the MRC. Here Centenary coordinator Adrian Penrose provides a snapshot of highlights from our Centenary year, shoehorned into a familiar format …

Twelve groups celebrating

We’ve held 12 events this year in the UK celebrating our Centenary with MRC staff and our wider community. The MRC is a large organisation, funding and carrying out such a range of research, so we wanted to get people together to share their knowledge. Activities included the broadcast of films about past and present MRC research at the London event, hands-on fun activities in Edinburgh, a Centenary Quiz and photography competition in Cambridge, and a special sciSCREEN-style screening and discussion of The Nightmare Before Christmas in Cardiff.

Eleven scientists writing

We shortlisted 11 MRC-funded early-career researchers for this year’s Max Perutz Science Writing Award held at the Science Museum in London. Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, presented the £100 Centenary Prize to Helen Keyworth for her article Running Away from Addiction, while Peter Kilbride won the Centenary challenge of describing where his research area would be in 100 years. [...]

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We need your ears

18 Dec 2013

Tony Colman (Image copyright: Hospital Records*)

Tony Colman (Image copyright: Hospital Records)

We know that exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing loss, with working in noisy environments long known as a culprit. But what effect has loud music had on the population’s hearing? Today we’re launching a mass participation study to see how our listening past affects our hearing present. Here Tony Colman, drum & bass DJ and co-founder of the Hospital Records label, tells us how exposure to loud music has affected his hearing ― and why you should take part in our online experiment so scientists can find out more.

How long have you been DJing for?

I’ve only been DJing for 17 years — before that I was playing guitar in several bands. I’ve been making music in the studio for 30 years.

What do you estimate your exposure to loud music to be?

It totally varies day to day. Many days nothing at all — at gigs, a lot — but I stuff my ears with silicone earplugs when I’m not playing myself.

Tell us about when you first realised you had tinnitus.

It was after we did a Hospital Records album launch at a drum & bass night called Movement at Bar Rumba in Piccadilly Circus. I remember thinking “what’s that ringing sound?”, and then I knew what it was. The system on that night was stupidly loud and I remember almost feeling pain in my ears. [...]

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Celebrating a century of international collaboration

11 Dec 2013

Medical research benefits people worldwide, but how many of us are aware of the corresponding worldwide effort that goes into achieving research breakthroughs and translating them into benefits for patients? MRC External Communications Officer, Stacy-Ann Ashley, found out more at the MRC’s celebration of 100 years of international collaboration.

Caption: MRC international collaboration poster competition shortlisted entrants with MRC Chief Executive, Sir John Savill; MRC Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Strategy, Dr Wendy Ewart; and MRC Director of International Strategy, Dr Mark Palmer.

Caption: MRC international collaboration poster competition shortlisted entrants with MRC Chief Executive, Sir John Savill; MRC Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Strategy, Dr Wendy Ewart; and MRC Director of International Strategy, Dr Mark Palmer.

The world can sometimes feel small, and never more so than when we look at what connects people and places. Often these connections are good, but not always: ill-health affects people wherever they are, anddiseases don’t recognise country borders. Consequently, improving human health around the world requires a global approach.

At the final event in the MRC Centenary programme, we showcased some key achievements in international collaborative research to invited guests, including the heads of many research organisations from around the world, eminent scientists and parliamentarians. These collaborations between scientists in every corner of the globe have enabled us to achieve breakthroughs in genetics, virus and bacterial infection and improved public health, to name just a few. The MRC plays an important role in devising and supporting strategic international collaboration, and a key aim of Research Changes Lives 2014–2019, the MRC’s refreshed strategic plan launched yesterday at the event, is to enable researchers to form partnerships across the globe. [...]

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Centenary correspondence

5 Dec 2013

As we approach the end of our Centenary year we’re starting to look back at all the ways in which we marked turning 100. One of our Centenary highlights was the official opening of the new MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology building by Her Majesty the Queen. Our Chief Executive John Savill was particularly pleased to receive this feedback from a pupil at Great and Little Shelford Primary School, whose choir sang to welcome the Queen to the building. We hope she remembers “the Queen’s lovely feathery hat and missing a bit of school” for a long time to come.

[...]

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Last of the ‘lab-boys’

15 Oct 2013

Len Ward's colleague Vic Wright in the NIMR chemistry lab in 1934. Len had to remove and clean all these bottles once a week (please see copyright disclaimer below.)

Len Ward’s colleague Vic Wright in the NIMR chemistry lab in 1934. Len had to remove and clean all these bottles once a week (please see copyright disclaimer below.)

The vital work of laboratory technicians is often missing from accounts of modern medical research. Medical historian Professor Tilli Tansey studied practices at the MRC’s National Institute of Medical Research to explore changing attitudes to lab technicians over the past century.

The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) was established in Hampstead in 1919. Initially, four departments were formed: Applied Physiology; Bacteriology; Biochemistry & Pharmacology; and Statistics. Each departmental head employed a lab assistant, and negotiated directly with the MRC about their technician’s salary and conditions. However by 1920, with nine scientists and approximately 15 assistants (including technical, animal house and maintenance staff) this system became unworkable. Consequently, formal pay and pension scales for all staff were created and a limited number of higher ‘A’ technical grades. [...]

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Behind the picture: Archie Cochrane and the Welsh coal miners

8 Oct 2013

As The Cochrane Collaboration celebrates its 20th Anniversary, Isabel Baker delves into the MRC archive to look back on its pioneering namesake, Professor Archibald Leman Cochrane, and the story of this photograph, taken during his ambitious project to X-ray the entire population of a Welsh mining valley.

The MRC Pneumoconiosis Research Unit team at the Rock Colliery in 1953, Archie is seated far left. (Image copyright: The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine)

The MRC Pneumoconiosis Research Unit team at the Rock Colliery in 1953, Archie is seated far left. (Image copyright: The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine)

This photograph, taken at the Rock Colliery in Wales in 1953, is of the MRC Pneumoconiosis Research Unit X-raying team. The team look pretty happy considering their gruelling schedule, working long unsociable hours in a marquee and X-ray van set up at the pithead.

Between 1950 and 1953 the PRU team X-rayed all of the coal miners and ex-miners in the Rhondda Fach deep coal mining valley in South Wales — no small undertaking given that the mining population of the valley was more than 6,000. Another team, from the Welsh Regional Hospital Board, X-rayed the women, children of school age, and non-mining men. [...]

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MRC Centenary Open Week

5 Jul 2013

MRC Open Week (20-29 June 2013) was an opportunity for scientists to open their lab doors or get out into the community to share their science with the public. From stand up comedy to sketching, they came up with some inventive ways of doing this. Here we round-up the week’s social media.

 

MRC Open Week (20-29 June 2013) was an opportunity for scientists to open their lab doors or get out into the community to share their science with the public. From stand up comedy to sketching, they came up with some inventive ways of doing this. Here we round-up the week’s social media.

http://storify.com/the_MRC/mrc-centenary-open-week [...]

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Watching worms

3 Jul 2013

Andre Brown, a researcher at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, needs your help with watching thousands of hours of videos of nematode worms. Here he tells you what his research into the genetics of the worm’s nervous system will gain from you turning citizen scientist and getting involved in Worm Watch Lab

I remember when it first struck me. It was a normal day a couple of years ago and I was going about my business in the lab. I’d just finished recording some videos of crawling nematode worms and was looking forward to seeing what I’d captured.

But I ran into a problem: we’d already recorded so many videos that my portable hard drive was full, so I couldn’t transfer the day’s batch to my laptop for viewing. We were recording videos from eight microscopes at the same time so they were adding up quickly. That was when I knew we needed help. [...]

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In pictures: the MRC Centenary Festival

25 Jun 2013

Last weekend we kicked off our Centenary Open Week with a festival at London’s Science Museum. Scientists from 10 MRC-funded units and centres took part in ‘Life: A healthy game of chance and choice’, an activity taking visitors through MRC research related to healthy lives. Here’s Stacy-Ann Ashley with a photo round-up.

(Image copyright: Science Museum/Jennie Hills) [...]

Continue reading: In pictures: the MRC Centenary Festival