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Posts tagged ‘MRC Centre for Reproductive Health’

Something’s got to give

Vicky Young (Copyright: Vicky Young)

Vicky Young (Copyright: Vicky Young)

In her shortlisted article for the Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2012, Vicky Young explains her research into endometriosis and why a protein that seems to make organ linings ‘stickier’ could be the key to treating this painful and debilitating condition, treatments for which have changed little since the days of Marilyn Monroe.

“What good is it being Marilyn Monroe? Why can’t I just be an ordinary woman? A woman who can have a family … I’d settle for just one baby. My own baby.”

As the quintessential sex symbol of modern time, Marilyn Monroe oozed femininity and appeared to be the ideal women, but behind closed doors she spent most of her life in chronic pain, became addicted to pain-killers, and suffered from difficulties in conceiving and at least two miscarriages. Read more

Racing sperm at a different kind of festival

Looking at sperm-shaped feedback (Copyright: Egg and Sperm Race/Jeremy Tavener)

Looking at sperm-shaped feedback (Copyright: Egg and Sperm Race/Jeremy Tavener)

Vicky Young and her fellow PhD student Gemma Sharp from the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health can often be found toting a two-metre model of a womb around the country, most recently at the Green Man festival in August. Here Vicky tells us what they get out of their unusual science communication activity, and how children and adults alike learn from ‘sperm racing’.

I never thought that when I was accepted to do a PhD I would spend my weekends making a giant model of a uterus to race sperm through, or that I’d then be invited to music festivals to race these sperm.

But that’s what I found myself doing at this year’s Green Man Festival in Wales, where we returned to Einstein’s Garden, part of the festival full of performances, workshops, musicians, crafts and activities based around science and nature. We’ve been running the Egg and Sperm Race for 18 months now and it basically does what it says on the tin — we race sperm. Read more