• Question: what is all your research going to do for the future?

    Asked by laineylol to Amelia, Jim, Liz, Prateek, Richard on 20 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by yanan.
    • Photo: Lizzard O'Day

      Lizzard O'Day answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      You can really never know what it will actually do but you can hope. I hope my research helps contribute to our understanding of the genes and pathways that lead to cancer and I hope we can use that information to design better ways to treat cancer patients. Fingers crossed and here’s to hoping!

    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      Well I hope you will start to see more of these devices that will hopefully do loads of clever reactions in a really clean and quick way.

      The aim is to have a “lab on a chip” so all the reactions that are usually done on big machines that take up loads of energy and space in the labs can be done on tiny chips/devices.

      One has already gone for testing in clinics. This is used to test your DNA and can be used to look for infections. The hope is that tests could be done on this from a small drop of your blood instead of having to take a large blood sample and send it off to the lab which takes several days. It’s about the size of an iPad, here’s a link for it:


    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      My work, and that of my lab, is concerned with understanding how antibiotic resistance evolves, and finding what are the different types of protection that bacteria use. We also look at how different antibiotics actually work, so we can understand what types of responses bacteria will have to them. The aim is to better understand the ecology of antibiotic resistance in people and the environment.

      The ultimate goal of my work is to study Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to lots of different antibiotics, and work out whether their ability to resist any particualr drug makes them very weak – sure, they survive the drug when all those cells that aren’t resistant will die, but when there is no more drug, they really don’t do very well by being resistant (it’d be like them wearing a suit of armour all the time, rather than just when they’re in battle).

      Those drugs that the bacteria have to work hardest to resist might be drugs that we can use again, if we only stop using them for a few years, then those cells that ‘wear the suit of armour’ will die out, and then in a few years we can start attacking the cells again with that drug (and none of them wil have armour).

      This is not true of all antibiotics – some drugs bacteria will always be resistant to, because they stay super-fit and never need to take off their armour – so we need to catalogue the few drugs that we can rotate in this way.