14th December 17
On Thursday 7 December, the A level biology students from Years 12 and 13 went to central London to visit Kings College. We met Dr. Julie Wang who kindly took us on a tour around the labs, showcasing some of the projects her own students have been working on as well as showing us the animal labs, explaining the ethical and financial dilemmas implicated in keeping such animals. We were first toured around the teaching labs, where the pharmacy students are trained, and introduced to some of the equipment used for experiments. We also had the opportunity to speak to Pharmacy students, who were finishing their Masters fourth year projects and they explained why they chose to pursue Pharmacy.
The first lab that our group visited focused on modelling drug delivery outside the body. Here, the team of College students took pre-manufactured drugs and investigated the ways in which the drug could be administered most efficiently. This team also aimed to minimalise side effects of each drug. One student was studying how well exosomes could retain the drug that needed to be administered. She explored how different factors affected the exosomes ability to take up the drug. She changed the ratio of exosome to drug to see how this would affect how well the drug was able to be held within the exosome and also the effects of post incubation on the exosome.
The second lab that our group visited focused on cell culture and aseptic techniques and the training behind them. We had to also consider aseptic techniques when we entered the animal labs to see the mice and their young, as some of these mice were immune suppressed so as to be able to be infected. It was great to see how much paperwork has to be processed to allow the animal testing to proceed and it was upsetting to realise the stigma attached to the animal technicians and those working in the field of animal testing – people who’s work has saved so many lives through research.
It was an educational and enjoyable experience.
Thanks to Biology teachers Ryan and Jess for organising the trip and to Dr Julie Wong and everyone at King’s College for introducing us to their research.
Jess, Year 12 Biology Student