Star Wars actor John Boyega visited Imperial to launch a collaborative research project that could speed up cancer research.
Those of you familiar with the latest Star Wars films won’t need reminding that runaway stormtrooper Finn irreversibly turned his back on the Empire*. But last week the actor who portrays him – John Boyega – was firmly in support of Imperial research.
Some of you may have spotted John browsing textbooks in the library, in a lab in Sir Alexander Fleming Building, or even lying in bed outside the main entrance. He was here to promote the UK launch of the DreamLab app and a collaborative research project between the Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London.
Sleep like a hero
The project’s aim is to recruit people to ‘sleep like a hero’ and donate the power of their smartphones to run a simple app, which can help to carry out research overnight. As part of the “DRUGS” (Drug Repositioning Using Grids of Smartphones) research project, a team led by Dr Kirill Veselkov in Imperial’s Department of Surgery & Cancer has designed an algorithm that breaks down enormous datasets into small chunks that can be analysed.
The hope is that rather than a trial and error approach of testing cancer drug combinations to see which work best for a patient, data-led approaches such as this could help to identify combinations of drugs to use based on the genotype of the cancer itself. Find out more about how your smartphone could speed up cancer research while you sleep.
Kirill and his research team enjoyed the chance to discuss their work with John, who enthusiastically got to grips with the science behind the project. Describing his support for DreamLab, John said: "This is about being part of this research that will hopefully save lives in the future."
If you’d like to spend your (Jedi) nights running the DreamLab app to support this research, you can find out more on the Vodafone website.
*This author acknowledges that Finn actually defected from the First Order, the Galactic Empire’s successor organisation, but that wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good a segue.
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Communications and Public Affairs
Faculty of Medicine Centre
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