Imperial College London

School of Medicine team host AstraZeneca lab visit

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Michael Tonge, Student Graduate Programme Manager for AstraZeneca, meets with BMB student Anna Litovskikh during the Lab Pod session

Michael Tonge, Student Graduate Programme Manager for AstraZeneca, meets with BMB student Anna Litovskikh during the Lab Pod session

Visitors from AstraZeneca were hosted by staff from the innovative BSc in Medical Biosciences.

The team behind the School of Medicine’s newest course recently welcomed representatives from research-based biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, to observe the programme’s novel Lab Pod sessions.

Michael Tonge, Student Graduate Programme Manager, and John Elvin, Senior Scientist, visited the College’s Hammersmith campus to see the Medical Biosciences (BMB) students in the labs and to meet the team.

Two groups of current Year 2 BMB students presented their work so far this year to the visitors, after which they had the opportunity to see the students undertake research in the lab, observe their lab skills and to speak with both the students and staff about the programme.

Hosting the visit were BMB’s Head of Programme, Dr Ana Costa-Pereira; Head of BMB Year 1, Dr Jacqueline Dickson; Educational Developments Manager, Josh Blacker, and Educational Developments Officer, Rumi Khanom.

Head of Business and Educational Development, Mr Gerry Greyling, and Stephanie Morris from the College’s Corporate Partnerships team joined the visitors for discussion after their session observations.

L-R: Mr Gerry Greyling, Ms Stephanie Morris, Michael Tonge, Dr Ana Costa-Pereira and John Elvin
L-R: Mr Gerry Greyling, Ms Stephanie Morris, Michael Tonge, Dr Ana Costa-Pereira and John Elvin

Tackling modern health challenges

The visit was initiated as part of the BMB Lab project pathway. During the third and final year of the course, students complete specialists module that examine health problems in the 21st century, followed by a project. These can take place in a laboratory, be a literature-based research project or in the form of a work placement.

AstraZeneca are set to host some of the inaugural lab projects later this year, when the first students begin the inaugural Year 3 of the programme.

“We were impressed by the innovative approach taken towards the laboratory portion of the course, which gives the students the freedom to design and plan their own projects and test an initial hypothesis with experiments,” the visitors reported.

“This approach encourages them to really develop their scientific thinking – an aspect which is sometimes overlooked at this level of education – and working in groups in the lab helps them to develop vital team-working skills, which will be invaluable as they progress in their careers.”

Dr Ana Costa-Pereira, Head of the BMB Programme, meets Michael Tonge (centre) and John Elvin (right)
Dr Ana Costa-Pereira, Head of the BMB Programme, meets Michael Tonge (centre) and John Elvin (right)

Innovative teaching

The Lab Pod sessions are designed to change up traditional teaching and learning styles, with students preparing for sessions prior to entering the lab space.

The innovative BMB programme uses the ‘flipped classroom’ method: a blended learning pedagogy that encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning, ensuring they are fully prepared to take part in each session, where they build on and develop the pre-session material they have covered, and to collaborate closely with their peers.

If you would like more information on the programme, or would be interested in offering either a lab, literature or work placement, please visit the Medical Biosciences Industry Placement webpage, or get in touch directly with the BMB Placements team at bmbplacements@imperial.ac.uk.



Reporter

Dorrit Pollard-Davey

Dorrit Pollard-Davey
Faculty of Medicine Centre