Tuesday night in London, the team at Genesis Research Trust had a scientific education. We attended Pint of Science at the Tamesis Dock along the Thames. Our researcher Dr David MacIntyre alongside Imperial College’s Professor Waljit Dhillo took the audience on a journey through their research.
Professor Dhillo spoke on his research into the hormone Kisspeptin, which is the hormone released in pre-pubescent teenagers as they have their first kiss. The first kiss stimulates Kisspeptin and then we begin puberty. Professor Dhillo’s research looks at using Kisspeptin as a safer way to treat women with infertility issues and make IVF more successful. Dhillo took the audience on a pub quiz style tour of his research, with the audience asking him plenty of questions about how else Kisspeptin could be used. Dhillo’s research continues to strive for a safer and healthier way for people to conceive, so far using Kisspeptin as a fertility treatment his team have successful delivered 30 healthy babies.
Genesis Research Trust researcher Dr David MacIntyre was up next. David’s research concentrates on the bacteria that can be found inside the female reproductive tract. At this stage Dr MacIntyre asked the audience to look at the person next to them, and stated that we’re all made up of 90% bacteria, which is an initially troubling concept, however Dr MacIntyre went on to explain that not all of that bacteria is “bad”. Plenty of the bacteria inside us has functional and lifesaving elements. This includes the bacteria found inside the female reproductive tract, this bacteria, Lactobacilli, is what is known as a “good” bacteria, which can help contribute to a baby’s healthy development. David explained to us how bacteria found in the female reproductive tract could be causing the waters to break early in some pregnancies. We also learnt that when a pregnant women’s waters break early in pregnancy, this could be a sign that the baby is going to be born prematurely and signifies potential risks for both the mother and baby, including infection and brain damage of the baby. When a woman’s waters break this is currently treated with antibiotics, as there is a risk of infection to mother and baby as the amniotic sac is no longer protecting the baby. Dr MacIntyre’s work shows that when a mothers waters break, and she is given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection, however David’s research shows this actually kills off the majority of the “good” bacteria, the Lactobacilli, and actually could increase the risk of infection and could cause health issues for the baby. Serious but important research that impacts the way mothers and preterm babies could be treated in the future. MacIntyre had some comedic tips for all of us too including making sure we don’t wash too much and that Lactobacilli is found in probiotic yoghurts (although not in the same quantities or quality as the stuff we produce ourselves)!
Pint of Science is run mainly by volunteers and aims to make scientific research accessible to everyone, now the Genesis Research Team have experienced this first hand, we can without doubt say we’ve had an excellent introduction into some of the work our researchers conduct.
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