Statistics has been part of the work of the MRC for almost our entire history ― the MRC Biostatistics Unit is 100 years old this year. Here Dr Howard Thom, who did his PhD at the unit, describes how important it is to remember who statistics is for: patients.
Psoriatic arthritis is a combination of two very unpleasant conditions: the rashes associated with the skin condition psoriasis and the painful inflammation of joints found in arthritis.
How and why some patients rapidly deteriorate ― making it more and more difficult to complete everyday tasks such as preparing food, making a bed, or even sitting in a chair ― while others remain stable, is of great interest to doctors and, of course, to patients. Read more
It’s been more than a year since we launched Worm Watch Lab, a citizen science project in which people watch videos of tiny nematode worms. So what’s been spotted in the intervening year? Vicky Butt, a summer student in the Behavioural Genomics Lab at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, brings us up to date and explains why we need your help more than ever.
It’s been a busy year for the Worm Watch Lab. Since going live on 25 July 2013, 6,500 people have watched videos of nematode worms laying eggs almost 200,000 times.
Just like other Zooniverse projects ― such as Galaxy Zoo ― anyone can sign up to be a worm watcher. The idea is that they watch 30-second videos of the worms, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), and press ‘z’ on their keyboard whenever they see the worm lay an egg.
Impressive worm-tracking cameras attached to microscopes make videos of each worm strain. There are more than 300 strains, each with a different mutation. But why are we looking at the worms like this? It’s because looking at how the mutation affects egg-laying is an easily visible way of getting clues about what the mutation does. Read more
Dr Richard Coward is an MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Head of Research for the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol. Here he tell us about his working life from spending time with ‘beautiful’ cells to working with the pharmaceutical industry.
My MRC Senior Clinical Scientist Fellowship enables me to combine clinical and basic scientific work, allowing me to continue my laboratory and research interests as well as my clinical commitment to paediatric nephrology.
I was attracted to research at the end of my clinical training. The drive to do this was because I looked after a patient who had an inherited condition called congenital nephrotic syndrome, a disorder passed down through families in which a baby develops massive amounts of protein in the urine.
Soon afterwards it became clear that the podocyte cell, a beautiful cell in the glomerulus ― the filtering unit of the kidney ― that looks like a big octopus, was involved. The gene responsible for the disorder was discovered to code for a protein located exclusively in the podocyte. Read more