Glasgow PhD students set to take their research to Parliament

Published: 6 March 2023

Three PhD students from the University of Glasgow have been selected to present their research at the STEM for Britain competition on Monday 6th March.

Three PhD students from the University of Glasgow have been selected to present their research at the STEM for Britain competition on Monday 6th March.
Lanxin Xi and Mandal Parna, from the School of Mathematics & Statistics, and Thomas Gregory, from the School of Physics & Astronomy, will attend parliament to present posters outlining their research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges at the event. (l-r)Langxin Li, Thomas Gregory and Parna Mandal, participants in the STEM for Britain competition

(l-r) Lanxin Li, Thomas Gregory and Parna Mandal, participants in the STEM for Britain competition
They were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament.
Their posters will be judged will be judged against dozens of other scientists’ research, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.
Lanxin, 25, is from China. Her poster focuses on the development of a new Bayesian statistical tool for the accurate detection of genetic variation associated with heart disease.
She said: “It is a great honour to be offered this opportunity to show the public how statistical models can help to solve important and complex real-world problems. In my work, I show how a Bayesian statistical model can improve the accuracy of the detection of genetic mutations associated with heart disease, helping us understand the underlying science better and in the long run help in developing diagnostic tools and treatments which may save lives.
“On the other hand, it can also be a challenge to engage people’s interest with such a technical topic. I hope to share my interest in my research topic with members of the public and parliament and hope that, after my poster presentation, they are excited by the potential of statistical modelling to solve complex problems and contribute to improving human health.” 
Parna, who is also 25, is originally from Santiniketan in India. Her poster describes her research on understanding biofilm growth on medical implants in the presence of antibiotic delivery, with a view to optimizing antibiotic loading and release kinetics
She said: “It is an honour to present my research for STEM for BRITAIN. It is a great way to reach people to discuss my research goals and an opportunity to strengthen mathematical biology altogether.” 
Thomas is from Bury St Edmunds in the UK. His poster outlines how quantum light sources could offer improved performance over classical imaging techniques in applications including microscopes for imaging light-sensitive biological samples, covert imaging and LIDAR technologies.
He said: “I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to share my research as a finalist in the physics category of STEM for Britain. The opportunity to demonstrate the research we conduct at the University of Glasgow as part of QuantIC to MPs is valuable to illustrate the potential impact that research outputs can have. Furthermore, this is also the perfect platform to discuss future applications of the technologies that both ourselves and the broader scientific community develop, bringing researchers and policymakers closer.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. 
“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future, and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”
STEM for BRITAIN is a poster competition in the House of Commons involving approximately 120 early stage or early career researchers. It is judged by professional and academic experts. All presenters are entered into either the engineering, the biological and biomedical sciences, chemistry, mathematics and physics.
Each session will result in the award of and cash prizes. The gold winner will also receive a medal. There will also be an overall winner from the five sessions who will receive the Westminster Medal at a special awards ceremony in Parliament in May, organised by the Society of Chemical Industry.
The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society, the Nutrition Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with sponsorship from Dyson Ltd, Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, AWE, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, the Society of Chemical Industry, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, and the Biochemical Society.

First published: 6 March 2023

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